NFPA Journal - May/June 2013 - (Page 22)

>> FIREWATCH from our files by Ken Tremblay Firefighters clean up after a three-alarm house fire in California that killed one resident and injured another. Residential Hoarding contributes to death of two CALIFORNIA—A fire in a singlefamily home filled with items piled 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1 meter) high took the lives of a 78-year-old woman and her 81-year-old husband. The single-story, wood-frame house, which covered 1,600 square feet (149 square meters), had stucco walls and a pitched roof covered with asphalt shingles. There were no smoke alarms or sprinklers. A neighbor called 911 to report the fire at 1:28 a.m., and fire crews arrived six minutes later to find heavy fire and smoke coming from the front of the house. Bystanders told firefighters that the couple was still in the home, and crews immediately tried to drag hose lines into position for a rescue. However, the hose lines became hung up 22 NFPA JOURNAL MAY/JUNE 2013 on items stored outside the home, and the rescue attempt was delayed. Once inside, firefighters’ movements were hampered by hoarding conditions. Eventually, firefighters found the woman in a kneeling position in the living room, with her torso leaning over a stack of boxes against a bookcase. As they began to remove her, they found her husband in the living room, where he normally slept in a recliner. Firefighters passed both victims out windows to waiting crews, who tried to resuscitate them before taking them to the hospital. Once the rescue team reported the state of the home’s interior, the incident commander ordered everyone from the house and started a defensive attack. Investigators concluded that the fire started in the area of two operating refrigerators that had been pushed up against an outside wall of the house. However, they could not determine the exact cause of ignition. Items stored on top of and behind the refrigerators allowed the fire to spread up the wood siding, through the soffits, and into the attic. The fire also burned through windows and the front door. The hoarded materials, which family members and municipal authorities had been working with the couple to reduce, contributed to the fire and prevented the victims from escaping. The house and its contents, which were estimated at $450,000, were destroyed. Combustibles on stove start fire INDIANA—A 78-year-old woman died of smoke inhalation as the result of a fire in the kitchen of her singlefamily house. The single-story, wood-frame house, which covered an area of 1,150 square feet (107 square meters), had a batteryoperated smoke alarm in the living Photograph: AP/Wide World

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - May/June 2013

NFPA Journal - May/June 2013
First Word
In a Flash
Heads Up
Structural Ops
In Compliance
Electrical Safety
Wildfire Watch
Treasurer's Report
Work in Progress
Amping It Up
Drill Team
Working Together
Code Process 2.0
Routine Maintenance
Here, There, Everywhere
Section Spotlight
Expo Preview: Exhibitors' Showcase
Looking Back

NFPA Journal - May/June 2013