A major fire in the Bronx on December 28th, 2017 was started by a toddler playing with a stove, according to investigators. The deadly blaze, one of the deadliest in New York history, killed 12 people and left four more critically injured. As the fire spread from apartment to apartment, and as flames rendered the main stairwell unusable, firefighters risked their own lives to pull as many people from the conflagration as they could. And as soon as the fire was out, people were left wondering what had been the source of ignition, only to discover it was a preventable blaze.
Teaching children fire safety is extremely important, but many parents only instruct their children what to do in case of fire, without providing information on how fires start in the first place. Children must be made aware that certain activities are off-limits due to the likelihood of causing a fire. These activities include:
- Playing with stoves, dryers, or other appliances
- Overloading outlets or using frayed extension cords
- Playing with matches or cigarette lighters
- Cooking while unsupervised
- Lighting candles near fabrics or other flammable objects
Though not all fires are preventable, many are caused by unsafe actions. Teaching children proper fire prevention is one step parents can take to minimize the risk of terrible tragedies like this occurring. Preventing even one loss of life is worth taking a few hours to ensure children are taught responsible use of appliances, candles, and other potentially hazardous household items.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a fire, determining whether or not the fire was preventable is important. Though children cause some blazes, many are caused by deferred building maintenance or other unsafe actions by landlords and building owners who prioritize profit over safety. And even if the fire was caused by accident, the fire may have spread more quickly due to lack of fire breaks or other unsafe conditions. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding how to proceed with your case.