As details about a tragic fire Christmas morning in Stamford, Connecticut continue to be released by local officials, homeowners should be aware of the importance of conducting a home inspection regularly to keep residents safe.
The fire occurred around 3 a.m. Christmas morning after a friend of homeowner Madonna Badger emptied embers from a fireplace into a bag, which was then placed in the entryway to the home. Firefighters arrived at the scene two hours later, but they were unable to save Badger's parents and three children. Badger and Michael Borcina, the family friend, both survived.
According to The New York Times, Badger's home was in the process of being renovated, so the city had yet to conduct a thorough inspection or approve the home for occupancy. Local officials could not confirm that the house, which was built in 1895, was outfitted with smoke detectors.
Experts with knowledge of home fires have weighed in on how the deadly fire could have been avoided. The U.S. Fire Administration's Thomas Olshanski told The New York Daily News that fire remnants need to be handled with care.
"If you and I had a fireplace fire today, those embers would be a potential source of fire tomorrow," Olshanski told the newspaper. "Even though it's gray and looks like ash, you have to treat everything that's in that fire as a potential source of fire for up to 24 hours."
In addition to exercising caution when disposing embers, homeowners should consult often with a Washington, D.C. home inspector to ensure their homes are outfitted with the proper fire prevention measures. This professional can make sure chimneys are allowing for smoke to escape properly, in addition to suggesting proper installation strategies of smoke detectors.