Last Friday night, an elderly woman needlessly lost her life after she fell asleep in bed with a lit cigarette inside her apartment home with no working smoke detectors. Los Angeles County firefighters dispatched to save her were unable to save her from one of the most preventable causes of fire and fire death in America.
“Sadly, this resident lost her life as a result of injuries suffered in the fire,” says Fire Captain Tom Richards, public information officer for the department.
“Our investigators determined that this fire was actually caused by the victim herself when she fell asleep in bed with a lit cigarette. The smoke alarms in her home were not working, so no one was able to hear the smoke alarm go off. This is really a tragedy.”
Seventy percent of all fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Every year in the United States, over 2,500 people perish in house fires, and many of these fatalities could have been prevented by having functioning smoke alarms. In addition to ensuring that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are on every level of their home both inside and outside sleeping areas, residents are urged to test their alarms monthly and change the batteries twice annually when changing their clocks in the fall and spring.
From 2008 to 2010, nearly 23,000 smoking-related fires occurred across the country, killing 1,100 people; one-fourth of these fires originated in a bedroom. L.A. County firefighters remind everyone that smoking in bed is a negligent act and a highly preventable cause of fire. For more information, please contact us at (323) 881-2411.