In the past month or so, there have been eight deadly fires in Connecticut, killing a total of 11 people.
While the causes for many are still under investigation, a Connecticut Fire Academy official is stressing taking proper steps to ensure fire safety.
The Connecticut Fire Academy posted on Facebook calling the number of deadly fires this late in the season “somewhat rare.”
“It’s very tragic,” said Alan Zygmunt, public information coordinator for the Connecticut Fire Academy.
The eight fatal fires occurred from the end of February to the end of March all across the state from New Britain, North Branford, Bloomfield, Shelton, Oxford, Windham, Killingly and Somers.
“Between 2012 and 2016 the state of Connecticut had 18 fire deaths in homes in that four year period. So 11 fire deaths in about a month’s time is pretty extraordinary,” Zygmunt said.
The biggest trend between the fires is that most of the victims were over 55 years old, according to Zygmunt.
“Once you get on in age, your mobility gets declining, it becomes really important that you have a working smoke detector that warns you and you get out of the home,” he said.
It’s something that can save a life because exits can be blocked by fire in mere minutes.
“Fires nowadays they burn so much more rapidly than they did in the past,” Zygmunt said, citing furnishings that are common in homes.
House fires are most common in the winter, according to Zygmunt, but he wouldn’t call it “fire season” since every season poses its own set of fire hazards.
But between Thanksgiving and the end of February, people strongly rely on heating systems and supplemental heat.
As it inches into spring, and then summer, the weather dries out and it get windy which makes outdoor fires a potential threat, he said.
Here are some fire safety rules from the State Fire Marshal in partnership with the Connecticut Fire Academy and DEEP:
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they are working properly.
- Have an escape plan with a meeting place, and practice it. Each room in your house should have two ways out.
- Once you exit your home, DO NOT return. Too many people lose their lives going back into a burning home.
- Have your entire heating system checked for proper operation annually.
- If you or anyone in your home smokes, be extra careful with smoking materials as they are the most common cause of fatal house fires in the US.
- It's also a good idea to check on any elderly relatives or neighbors to make sure their smoke detectors are working. If you need any assistance with checking your detectors contact your local Fire Department or Fire Marshal's office. If everyone follows these safety rules, we can dramatically reduce the incidence of fires in our state and prevent family tragedies.
- If everyone follows these safety rules, we can dramatically reduce the incidence of fires in our state and prevent family tragedies
The State Fire Marshal's Office is part of the Department of Administrative Services and is responsible for assisting the Connecticut State Police with the investigation of fires in the state of Connecticut. The Connecticut Fire Academy is the teaching arm of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. Part of their mission is educating the public in fire and burn prevention.