Consider this news story both a tragedy and a blessing. Six children escaped a devastating early New Year's Day house fire in the Florida Panhandle, but in a heartbreaking twist, four female members of their family -- representing three generations of women -- died in the blaze. Family members did the one thing they should have to help prevent such a nightmare from happening. So, what went wrong?
At around 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the smoke detectors in the family's home went off. As someone who had to evacuate her home as a child because of a fire, I can tell you that our alarm was LOUD and there was no way it wouldn't prompt you to jump up and run like the wind out that front door.
But while the children, all aged 9 and under, were lucky enough to escape the house in time, three women living in the home died in their sleep and a fourth was found dead on the front porch. The victims included the children's mother, two grandmothers, and a great-mother. Their ages ranged from 40 to 90.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire but believe it may be linked to an overloaded extension cord. Our hearts go out to these children, who had the misfortune of beginning a new year with a deeply sorrowful event plaguing it. At the same time, it's difficult not to feel like some angel was guarding over them, and it's nothing short of a miracle that all of the children in this family survived the fire.
You may remember a report that came out a few years ago, claiming many children sleep through smoke detector alarms because their bodies differ from ours and they sleep much more soundly. A more recent study even found that 80 percent of children sleep through alarms -- scary! Obviously, children aren't the only ones who may find it easier to ignore alarms and we should all have a fire escape plan on hand in case of emergencies. Plans can include designating one child to each adult -- or vice versa -- and identifying the best escape routes in the house.
Does your family have a fire escape plan?
Image via lovstromp/Flickr