Thursday, December 29, 2011

Washington fire officials called to same duplex fire twice

Washington Duplex Fire
The child believed to have accidently started the duplex fire only received minor burns.
» 0 Comments | Post a Comment
WASHINGTON, N.C. - Imagine your home on fire and firefighters putting it out, only to have it catch on fire again just a few hours later.  That was a reality for two families in Washington.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday night firefighters responded to a duplex that caught fire on Sparrow Drive.  The fire started after a child was playing with a lighter in an upstairs bedroom.
After firefighters put the fire out, they were called back to the scene around 2 a.m. Wednesday after the fire flared back up.
The child believed to have accidently started the duplex fire only received minor burns.
Both families living there were placed in a hotel by the Washington Housing Authority.
Now two families are without a home, showing the dangers of fires at multi-family dwellings.
"I just seen a whole lot of smoke and I looked out and there was a whole lot of fire coming out the window.  It was crazy," said Trevon Patterson whose aunt lived in the home where the fire burned through the roof.
"I seen fire just coming out of the building there and I don't know where my aunt was at so I was looking for my aunt," said Tameua Patterson.
We talked with Washington Fire Chief Robbie Rose about why he thought the fire flared up a second time.
"I really attribute it to the fact that, that window was out.  We had a lot of high wind going in there and that was just a recipe for a rekindle," said Rose.
We asked rose if a fire wall could have prevented this double fire from destroying the homes of both families.  He had a better option.
"Even better are the new building codes that require sprinklers systems," said Rose.
Rose says new building codes are allowing for more sprinkler systems in multi-family residences, but older homes like the Washington duplex don't fall under those new guidelines.
He says things like a fire wall would slow down the fire, but a smoke detector and sprinkler system should come first.
"That's the big thing.  You can't beat a sprinkler system in a residential area.  That's the safeguard above all," said Rose.    
Rose says if you're looking to protect not just your life but your belongings, renters insurance is also a must and is usually very inexpensive.
View MoreNo tags are associated with this article
Not what you're looking for? Try our quick search:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stamford, Conn., mourns as details of fatal Christmas fire emerge

Stamford, Conn., mourns as details of fatal Christmas fire emerge
By Geraldine Baum
Tue Dec 27 2011 8:40 AM
Each Christmas, it seems, at least one American community is devastated by a holiday-related fire that takes the lives of a family.
This time it was a waterfront community in southern Connecticut that was felled by loss, and embers from a fireplace may be the culprit. The embers had apparently been left in a container inside the house after the mother finished wrapping gifts for her three children.
Neighbors congregated near the remains of the smoldering house throughout Christmas Day and the day after, one neighbor told the Los Angeles Times; some left flowers near the still-intact mailbox. Late Monday, the structure was completely torn down by the fire department because it was determined to be unsafe, accordingto the Associated Press.
Investigators suspect that the fire started early Christmas morning in the front hall of the old house facing Long Island Sound in tony Shippan Point in Stamford, Conn., a New York suburb.
The home's owner, Madonna Badger, an advertising executive, and a friend, Michael Borcino, the contractor who had been helping renovate the home, had spent the evening wrapping presents in front of the fire. They then loaded the fire's embers into a container and left the container in the front hall, according to the New York Daily News.
Badger, 47, and Borcino survived the fast-moving fire. But Badger's parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, who were to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary Monday, and Badger's three daughters, Lily, 10, and 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace, died.
''It is a terrible, terrible day for the city of Stamford,'' Mayor Michael Pavia said at a news briefing Sunday morning.
''There probably has not been a worse Christmas day in the city of Stamford.''
At the same news briefing, the city's fire chief teared up describing the difficulty of witnessing so much death in one family in one day.
The tragedy only became more heart-breaking as witnesses and rescue workers described the scene of the early morning fire to reporters. Among the details was the neighborhood filling with the sounds of Badger and Borcino screaming for help and then dozens of fire sirens racing to the home.
Badger and her children lived in the crumbling Victorian that she had bought about a year ago for $1.75 million. The children's father lives in New York City, according to news reports, and was rushed to Stamford on Christmas morning.
When emergency workers arrived early Sunday morning, they found Badger and Borcino trying to rescue her parents and the children, who were trapped on the upper floors of the three-story home. A rescue worker told the New York Daily News that Badger had to be prevented from trying to climb into the burning house. She was then loaded on a stretcher and taken to a hospital for observation, the worker said. Badger was later released.
Lomer Johnson, 71, apparently died trying to rescue one of his granddaughters. His body was found on the roof buried under rubble near a window; inside the window was the body of one of the girls.
"He died on the outside, and she died on the inside," Stamford Fire Chief Antonio Conte told the New York Daily News on Monday. "She was right next to him."
Johnson had spent the last day of his life playing Santa Claus and distributing candy canes at Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in Manhattan.
Johnson had retired as a safety director 11 years ago, and his wife had run an electrical contracting company in Kentucky; they moved to Connecticut in recent years to be closer to their grandchildren. That's also when Johnson's oldest granddaughter Lily began encouraging him to grow a beard and play Santa. He began advertising on as "Happy Santa."
"I have enjoyed it more than any job I've ever had," Johnson wrote on a the website promoting his role as the bearded one.
"We are heartbroken about this terrible tragedy,' Saks Fifth Avenue said in a statement.
Helpless neighbors were similarly saddened. "All we can think about is that poor mother trying to go on," a neighbor said. "Horrible."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fire sprinklers save Chapel Hill family's Christmas

Fire sprinklers save Chapel Hill family's Christmas

Click here to find out more!

Chapel Hill firefighters credited a sprinkler system with saving a family and their Christmas celebration from a dryer fire Saturday evening.
A woman called 911 around 6:45 p.m. to report that her clothes dryer was on fire in her apartment at 1900 Baity Hill Drive in the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's Family Student Housing complex, said Capt. Mary Blevins, with the Chapel Hill Fire Department.
When firefighters arrived, they discovered that a sprinkler over the dryer had turned on, keeping the fire contained to the dryer, she said. Firefighters extinguished it completely.
The family of five, including three children, and other people in the apartment building got out safely. The first floor of the building had smoke and water damage.
The family of five was displaced, so authorities helped them find temporary shelter, Blevins said. The South Orange Rescue fed them dinner, and firefighters brought them their clothes, personal items and Christmas gifts from the apartment.
"Santa was notified of the new address and heartily agreed to modify his delivery schedule accordingly, much to the delight of the children," Blevins said.
She urged people to never leave or go to sleep while a dryer is running, saying that dryers cause more than 15,000 fires in the country each year.
RELATED TOPICS: Chapel HillWildfire
e-mail print friendly

0 Comments welcomes your comments on this story. All comments are moderated prior to publication based on ourposting guidelines. Please review them prior to posting and if your message is not approved.
This story is closed for comments. Comments on news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.