Tragedy struck this weekend after a Saturday house fire claimed four lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Firefighters pulled the victims from the blaze around 3:30 a.m. and immediately ambulanced them to the UK Medical Center for smoke inhalation and burn treatment. Two parents and one child died on Saturday. Another child died Sunday, according to a report by WLKY.
One of the family’s children, a 13-year-old girl, was found at their grandmother’s house, who also resides in the neighborhood.
“There were no operable smoke detectors in the home,” according to Lexington Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Whittaker. “We like to think it would have made a difference.”
Functioning smoke detectors are critical to detecting and fighting or escaping a fire, but 60 percent of fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms, or no working ones, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Different Tools for Different Fires
The first thing that comes to mind when someone hears about a house fire is a massive, flaming fire licking at doors and windows, threatening to overpower you. But in many home fires, the ignited material tends to “smolder,” producing an abundance of deadly smoke that’s less detectable than a full-blown fire.
Two different types of smoke detectors commonly exist: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors more effectively warn you about flaming fires by detecting a change in the flow and contents of the air. Photoelectric smoke detectors use a small light source angled into a “sensing chamber,” which triggers when smoke enters the chamber and reflects light back onto the sensor.
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The NFPA recommends using both types of smoke detectors in your home, and has helpful literature on the technology and benefits of both.
Ionization smoke detectors are the cheaper of the two, making them the preferred version used by landlords to meet local fire codes. They’re frequently found in apartments and rented properties where you may not be responsible for installing the smoke detectors.
This oversight can lead to a smoldering fire filling your apartment with smoke, endangering your life without warning. If your landlord fails to properly equip your home with the fire fighting or detection tools required by your city or state, they may be on the hook for any injuries you suffer or property you lose. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering, even if you think the fire was your fault. An attorney can help you determine if your landlord is responsible for a fire breaking out, and may be able to get you justice.
Now, support is pouring out for the girl who survived her family. A GoFundMe is set up for funeral expenses and support.
(Note: The feature photo does not represent the actual event discussed in this piece.)
(Editor’s Note: This is a news story from the ‘Morgan Monitor,’ a news wire offering legal perspectives on news in your community.)