When a mother and daughter were killed in a Hialeah house fire in August 2017, authorities reported that all of the windows had bars on them and the occupants of the house were unable to escape. The tragedy was felt by neighbors, who knew the family and thought well of them. House fires are the kind of catastrophe no one ever wants to face. Yet we seem to keep firefighters busy with them nonetheless. If you experience a house fire due to negligence, a good personal injury attorney may be able to help.
Fires are all too common in the United States. In 2015 alone, firefighters responded to well over 1.3 million fires across the country. Other startling facts from that year include:
- Over 3,000 people died in fires;
- Nearly 16,000 people were injured in fires;
- An additional 68 firefighters lost their lives fighting fires;
- Over 68,000 firefighters were injured while on the job;
- Firefighters respond to a fire every 23 seconds across the United States;
- A new home fire is fought every 86 seconds;
- Nearly 80 percent of fire deaths occur in home structures.
Avoiding House Fires
What can residents do to keep themselves and their homes safe from fire outbreaks? Not surprisingly, the principal cause of home fires is unattended cooking. The greatest risk is frying. Experts advise that you give anything on your stovetop your undivided attention. If you have to leave to answer a doorbell or deal with another matter, turn off the burner.
Another factor related to numerous home fires is smoking. Furniture upholstery or mattresses and bedding materials are involved in two-thirds of fires connected with smoking. To avoid this type of fire, the best solution is to smoke outside. At the very least, avoid smoking when drowsy, and always douse cigarettes with water before tossing them in the trash.
Another fire hazard found in many homes is candles. Flames should always be extinguished if no adults are in the room, and candles should never be lit in bedrooms. To avoid problems altogether, consider battery-operated candles. If you just can’t bear to part with traditional candles, be conscientious whenever they have an open flame, and be sure they are a reasonable distance away from flammable items.
Electrical fires are another common cause of house fires. You can avoid them by making sure your cords are all in good shape and tossing any frayed or damaged ones. Make sure you don’t hang on to products that seem to have shorts or that are not up to par. Also, be sure not to overload the circuitry.
Heating can be a concern when portable space heaters come in contact with drapes or other flammable materials. If you must have one, be sure to keep it a safe distance from other objects.
After a Fire
At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we understand your pain following a tragedy such as a house fire. If you believe the problem is the result of faulty wiring or negligence of any kind, perhaps we can help. Contact us in Daytona or Ormond Beach for a free, confidential consultation.