Tennessee Child Dies in House Fire


A seven-year-old boy died Monday in a house fire in Humboldt, Tennessee, between Memphis and Nashville, only a week after his family moved into the home. The fire blazed on Etheridge Street, near the railroad crossing, in a home authorities say lacked smoke detectors. The boy died from smoke inhalation.

The fire started very early in the morning and caused heavy damage to the home. It’s being investigated by Tennessee officials, according to WMC Action News. One longtime Etheridge Street resident told WMC they’d never seen anything like it.

Reports indicate the mother was injured trying to rescue her son, and her children are under observation for any burn injuries or signs of danger.

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The family, a mother and three children, reportedly moved in only a week before the fire. Humboldt Fire Chief Chester Owens reported there were no working smoke detectors in the house, and said the rescue was hampered by a boarded-up door.

“The door was boarded up, [and responders] kicked the door in,” Owens told reporters at a press conference.

The cause is undetermined and is being investigated by the state fire marshall’s office, Owens said.

This isn’t the first fire in recent memory in Tennessee. At the end of January, a house fire in Hale Estates near the Humboldt city limits caused significant damage, leading to a large emergency response. Late last year, Tennessee saw a massive forest fire gobble up structures in Gatlinburg and the nearby area, claiming 14 lives.

Preventing Fires and Burn Injuries

Generally, your home or apartment must have working smoke detectors, more than one fire exit, and be free of obstacles. Oftentimes your city’s fire safety codes might require a fire extinguisher, maintaining electrical appliances like wires and outlets, and more.

The home in question didn’t have working smoke detectors, and one of the doors was boarded up. Avoiding safety issues like this can greatly improve your protection against potential property damages and burn injuries.

You can take safety into your own hands by creating and practicing a fire safety plan with your family, regularly checking your equipment, and ensuring your new home or apartment undergoes a fire inspection typical of your area.

Coupling this with combination smoke detectors designed to detect both fire and smoke, plus keeping extra exits from your home accessible, can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

But some people don’t have control over the circumstances in their home, whether it’s a rented house or public housing. Your landlord may be neglecting the property, failing to meet the accepted fire safety standards of your city. If this occurs, you have the right to hold the landlord accountable for putting you in harm’s way. An attorney with experience handling fire and burn injury cases can provide more information if you or a family member was injured, or worse, in a fire.

To contact a Morgan & Morgan fire attorney, fill out our free, no-risk case review.

(Editor’s Note: This is the first news story for the ‘Morgan Monitor,’ a new daily news service offering legal perspectives on news that happens in your community.)

(Photo does not represent the house fire reported in this article.)