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Community Focus
by Tom Kiurski

A remote lesson to learn

Teenager accidentally set house on fire while using a lighter to search for TV control under his bed

By Tom Kiurski

The incident in which a lost remote control led to a house fire in Ohio last week can prove a case study around which to educate your community on. This fire shouldn't have happened!

According to reports, the 19-year-old was smoking in bed while playing video games. Upon dropping the remote, he apparently left his cigarette on the mattress while he began his search under the bed. Unable to see much, he used his cigarette lighter to provide some illumination while he was partially under the bed.

A short time later, the mattress was seen smoldering in the bedroom. Some sources say he flipped the mattress over in the belief that would put the fire out. Then, he opened the windows and doors, hoping it would remove the smoke.

You can guess what happened next — the fire quickly took hold and spread rapidly through the house. This fire displaced the family, gutted the house and killed their dogs.

Is it possible that there are citizens in your community that think the safest place to put a lit cigarette is on a bed? Could you find someone in your city who believes that flipping a mattress over will extinguish a fire in it? Do you have members of your community that believe that plenty of fresh oxygen is the best thing for a small fire? It's easy to think not — but stories such as the one in Ohio prove it may well be the case.

Use the video clip to inform yourself about the actions that were taken, and how detrimental they were to this situation. You can use this example to illustrate points with audiences in your community.

Write an article about it, talk about it at your next speaking engagement or place a link to the article on your fire department webpage for visitors to learn from. Obviously, our citizens still have a lot to learn!

About the author

Tom Kiurski has been in the fire service since 1981. He is the Training Coordinator and Director of Fire Safety Education for Livonia, Mich., Fire & Rescue. He has served as a firefighter/paramedic, engineer and lieutenant prior to his appointment as the training coordinator. He has earned an Associates Degree in Fire Science from Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., a Bachelors Degree in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Tom teaches fire service-related courses at local colleges and fire academies. He has presented at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis seven times, as well as numerous state and local conferences. He has written more than 300 articles on fire safety education and training that have appeared in various fire service publications. Contact Tom at Tom.Kiurski@firerescue1.com.



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