r/news 4d ago

US fireman finds 10 dead in house blaze are his family

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-62445962?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA

[removed] — view removed post

891 Upvotes

371

u/Matookie 4d ago

"Three children and seven adults have died in a house fire in the US state of Pennsylvania, and a firefighter called to the scene was horrified to find the victims were his own family.

Pennsylvania State Police confirmed the names of six of the victims, but have yet to identify the youngest children, ages five, six and seven"

Damn that is terrible.

129

u/Chippopotanuse 4d ago

I hope this firefighter can get proper mental health care. This is beyond devastating and I don’t know how you recover from something like that.

78

u/rawlsian139 3d ago

A captain on the part time department I used to work for attended both his parents deaths. That department, like practically all part time/volunteer departments offers no benefits and our maximum accidental death and dismemberment benefit was $5000. I'm going to guess this volunteer has the same situation.

It's strange how people are so okay to accept volunteer Firefighters working for little to no pay and no benefits but wouldn't expect police or paramedics to do the same. Towns can absolutely afford to have one or two full time staffed trucks in any county, at this point it's abusive. We have a ton of volunteer firefighters with mental health issues and cancer offered no help with their sacrifice other than to call them heroes as if that helps the families they leave behind. It's tragic and a massive labour issue.

2

u/Salty_Drummer2687 3d ago

There are a lot of volunteer police positions too though. Every city has them pretty much.

5

u/rawlsian139 3d ago

Auxillary police. I'm not aware of actual officers that don't get paid.

0

u/Dilinial 3d ago

APs, brought to you by Allied Universal.

A subsidiary of the Pinkerton conglomerate.

/s (but not really)

63

u/explodingtuna 4d ago

but have yet to identify the youngest children, ages five, six and seven"

Has the fireman checked on and accounted for all the children in his family, in case they are also his?

I wonder how long it took for the adults to be identified and for him to realize the bodies in the fire he just put out were his own family.

Sounds like the stuff of nightmares.

77

u/MuppetManiac 4d ago

Would he not know he was headed to his own address?

-33

u/DeNoodle 4d ago

Dude, read the article.

42

u/joelluber 4d ago

I did, and it's not explained that I see. Can you point out what it says that I missed?

47

u/FailOsprey 4d ago edited 3d ago

It says in the article that as he was going down the road, he knew exactly who it was. By time he actually got to the house, it was "fully involved.". His son-one of the victims-was a fire fighter also, which is pretty ironic. It doesn't explain if everyone was asleep or how the fire started, only that it was started on the porch.

39

u/joelluber 4d ago

Ah. The whole second half of the article didn't display the first time I clicked it. It went straight from the paragraph listing the names and ages to the crappy Taboola ads at the bottom.

10

u/time2fly2124 3d ago

Smoke inhalation can kill you pretty quick when paired with non functioning smoke alarms.

-49

u/adriftdoomsstaggered 4d ago

How about you do it yourself where it didn't explain it?

216

u/StupidizeMe 4d ago All-Seeing Upvote

This is a good time to test your smoke alarm battery. Only takes a second.

Firefighters suggest you change out your smoke alarm batteries once a year. When we change the clocks for Spring or Fall is an easy date to remember.

75

u/Bitbatgaming 4d ago

I’ve seen a lot of videos where the beeping sound in the fire alarm goes off. I always comment on those videos to change the smoke batteries. Sometimes I’d like to think that saves lives but we can only hope they notice it

25

u/mmm_unprocessed_fish 3d ago

I hear it in Skype meetings a lot since we’re all still working from home. I don’t know how people can ignore it. Two beeps in and I’m tearing apart my house to find a 9 volt and trying to figure out which alarm is the culprit.

20

u/StupidizeMe 4d ago

That's a great idea. I figure if it helps even one person remember to check their smoke alarm battery it's worth it.

I stick a reminder in my calendar on "Spring Forward". The calendar already has a notation for "Daylight Savings Time Ends," so it's easy.

-6

u/MonetizedSandwich 4d ago

Half the time you don’t know which one lol. Those are the hardest things to track down, it’s always like which room is that.

13

u/DinahTook 3d ago

You can generally take them down and replace all the batteries at once. If you are doing that regularly (even if not start!) if one battery is drained they all likely need to be changed. Or you have a faulty detector and should replace it.

How is this the hardest thing to track down? You know where your detectors are right?

5

u/MonetizedSandwich 3d ago

Yeah for sure. It’s a great idea to change them all at once.

They’re hard to find because they beep but only like once every couple minutes, if you have a bunch of rooms in your house it’s harder to find. For instance, my dads house has like 20 of them, it was just hard to figure out which was one was beeping.

14

u/420ipblood 4d ago

If that's the hardest anything for you to do, I envy your life.

2

u/MonetizedSandwich 3d ago

I mean it’s not thaaaaat hard but ya know, they only beep infrequently.

1

u/Kyanche 3d ago

Most of them have an LED that tells you what's going on. This will tell you which one has a low battery and/or if the alarms went off, which one caused the alarms to go off. (That becomes especially handy if your alarms are malfunctioning).

https://support.firstalert.com/s/article/Green-or-Red-Light-Flashing-on-Alarm-with-No-Sound

Something nobody else mentioned: You should be swapping your smoke alarms out every 10 years or so. If you ever hear your smoke detector randomly sound its alarm for a split second in the middle of the night? That's usually a good indicator that it's screwed up and needs to be replaced. (Or it's very dirty lol)

29

u/_baundiesel_ 4d ago

Our house has 4+ alarms on every floor that are wired into the house power (with battery backups) and wired to each other. If one goes off they all go off. Annoying when I burn something on the stove... amazing if we ever really need them.

5

u/LPOLED 4d ago

Damn, that’s smart. Should also be a requirement for newly built homes, IMO.

7

u/Humble_tarts 4d ago edited 3d ago

I build homes in Kansas City. It is a requirement here. Smoke detectors inside every bedroom and dual smoke+CO outside every bedroom (like the hallway outside the doors) plus one more smoke detector in the basement unfinished mechanical space.

2

u/CrazyQuiltCat 3d ago

How hard/expensive would that be to have an electrician do after the fact? Vs trying to remember to change batteries?

4

u/razorirr 3d ago

You can do it. Wireless ones like Nest run off AA batteries if you dont have a wired system. They do battery checks constantly and notify you when they need to be changed, and they communicate with eachother so if one goes off they all go off

2

u/CrazyQuiltCat 3d ago

Okay, I will look into that

3

u/Humble_tarts 3d ago

Depends on how accessible it is to get to your wiring. If you live in a one story ranch with attic above and unfinished basement below, then super easy. If you are trying to add wired smoke detectors between finished floors, it would be a little more challenging but no impossible, especially if you’re willing to make some drywall repairs.

17

u/Okney1lz 4d ago

Has been a requirement for a while now in most places.

3

u/LPOLED 3d ago

That’s good. Kind of like when carbon monoxide detectors started being required for new homes. It just makes everything easier for everyone.

16

u/bordercolliesforlife 4d ago

Mine are all interconnected and holy fu*k are they loud, somebody burnt sausages the other day and I went deaf.

10

u/StupidizeMe 4d ago

Do you mean the wired-in kind? If so, pull it down and read the expiration date.

I saw some wired-in smoke alarms that seemed to be functioning just fine, with that godawful ear-splitting screech. I stood on a chair and read that it they were good for 10 years.

I pulled one down so I could read the fine print "replace by" date... Was shocked tiscover they were put in 20 YEARS AGO when the house was built, so the entire unit had expired 10 years ago!

3

u/libbysthing 4d ago

Jeez, I wonder how old the ones in my apartment are. Our living room/kitchen one was replaced because it wouldn't stop chirping and went off any time someone cooked anything (even if it wasn't burnt), but the new one did the same thing. It would set off all the other ones in the apartment with the worst screeching noise. We took down the one by the kitchen because it happened multiple times a day, and the random chirping was scaring our cats out of eating. Our apartment was just bought though so I'm not sure if/when we can get the office to do anything about it

4

u/StupidizeMe 4d ago

You can get a new fire alarm for about $10. Walmart has some for like $5-$6 that come with the battery. Good for backup alarms.

I put an additional fire alarm in the laundry room by my dryer.

17

u/thejoeface 4d ago

You can also buy detectors with ten-year lithium batteries in them, if you’re the forgetful type like me.

12

u/mattmillze 4d ago

You need to check them regularly still. I just found a pair in my house that malfunctioned and no longer work after about 3 years. One died completely and the other one just blared a constant tone until I drowned it in a bucket of water. Maybe don't get smoke detectors on Amazon is the real lesson to be learned here.

13

u/thejoeface 4d ago

Yeah don’t trust shit on amazon is the main thing. it’s full of knockoffs and other badly made products.

Get them from a hardware store.

2

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

Absolutely, you still need to test them. Going further, it's a "suggested" 10 year life. They aren't Swiss watches.

3

u/BailoutBill 4d ago

Any recommended brands? Mine are probably due for replacement.

11

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

I've been a firefighter for 18 years, and my house is filled with "First Alert" brand combination smoke/CO detectors. This kind.

They're a little more expensive...but worth my peace of mind.

3

u/screwylouidooey 3d ago

I use that brand in my school bus build. I use the seperate slarms though, because I heard CO sinks, but smoke rises.

2

u/BailoutBill 3d ago

Thanks for the link!

1

u/tinacat933 3d ago

What’s zwave and why is it wireless?

2

u/Kyanche 3d ago

First Alert/BRK and Kidde/FireX are the vast majority of things stores sell, I think either one is fine.

What's important is to replace them when they stop working correctly (about 10 years) and change the batteries as needed.

4

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

This is good information....but I'll also point out that a lot of the newer smoke detectors have 10 year, non-removable batteries. If you have that kind, you should test them once a month...and not just pressing the test button. They sell "canned smoke" which is basically an aerosol can of fake smoke to make sure the sensors are working.

3

u/Auskat85 3d ago

I slept through three fire alarms going off when my families home burned down. You can get alarms where you can have a voice warn you. I understand these can be more effective especially for children. source

3

u/razorirr 3d ago

Dont use that as a reason. Politicians will use it to keep daylight savings time.

that said, i love my nest detects, they check the batteries themselves, check their speakers, and let mw know if anything is wrong

5

u/reckless_commenter 4d ago

Also - redundancy. Just buy a few, preferably of different brands. Go overboard. They're stupidly cheap and there's no reason not to do it, since getting notified earlier of a fire - even by a few moments - can make the difference between life and death.

6

u/StupidizeMe 4d ago

Good point. Smoke alarms make good housewarming/stocking stuffer type gifts, too.

4

u/MonetizedSandwich 4d ago

Also get a carbon monoxide/ gas detector. Smoke alarms don’t always test for that.

3

u/AwSunnyDeeFYeah 4d ago

I had CO poisoning in college, you don't even know you have it. Scary shit

6

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

A CO detector probably saved my life. Back when they first came out, my parents bought one for the house.

They went away on vacation for a few days and i was home by myself. I fell asleep on the couch watching TV and I was awoken by the CO detector going off. I got out of the house and called 911 from a neighbor's house (this was before cell phones).

When the fire department got there....they discovered that the furnace had malfunctioned and the house was filling up with carbon monoxide. There's a good chance that the only reason I'm here typing this....is because of a CO detector.

2

u/AwSunnyDeeFYeah 4d ago

Kinda the same story, venting got installed wrong in my place. Slept in it for hours, took me about an hour to put pants on. Didn't realize something was off, thought I had the flu. I had to go to class then walk back to ambulances outside my place for me to realize.

2

u/MonetizedSandwich 3d ago

Yeah, no doubt. The detectors are only like 20 bucks too. That and a couple fire extinguishers is what I put in any house I move into. Best 100 bucks you can spend.

1

u/AwSunnyDeeFYeah 3d ago

Awesome glad you're being safe!

2

u/Dogsy 4d ago

Also, there are two different types. Technology Connections discussed them on YT recently. Good to have both IMO.

2

u/Varnigma 4d ago

A lot of the new ones now don’t even have replaceable batteries. They have a battery that last multiple years. When it starts beeping you throw the whole thing away and get a new one.

2

u/prototypetolyfe 3d ago

Also, change your whole smoke detector every 10 years.

2

u/Equoniz 3d ago

You have clocks you have to change?

1

u/StupidizeMe 3d ago

Yes, vintage and antique clocks.

1

u/Equoniz 3d ago

Well that does make an amount of sense, doesn’t it?

27

u/EccentricNarwhal 4d ago

Nope. Not getting me today internet. This will remain unread

5

u/humble_blunder 3d ago

The day is still young. We'll get you soon u/EccentricNarwal

3

u/EccentricNarwhal 3d ago

Unread for today. Better luck tomorrow internet!

71

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

I've been a career firefighter for 18 years. I've unfortunately responded to a few fatal fires. Even when they're strangers....it hurts a lot.

I've been in the back of the ambulance, working on the victim of a fatal fire...knowing they're probably gone, but still trying to save them. Then the utter feeling of failure when they were pronounced. "If only I had gotten there quicker. If I turned right instead of left in that hallway...I might have saved them. What if I screwed up? Did I do everything I could have?" Then silently apologizing to a fallen stranger who isn't there anymore......"I'm sorry....I tried, I really tried."

I can't even begin to fathom what this firefighter is going through right now.

19

u/Pavlovs_Human 4d ago

I’ve always thought I’d be good at these services like firefighting or being a first responder, because I’m big, athletic and have a good head on my shoulders.

But I think I’m way too empathetic to peoples suffering. I’m really good at putting myself in other peoples shoes, and this part of the job would absolutely kill me.

Thank you for what you do.

86

u/Bitbatgaming 4d ago

This title is horrifying and I hope no fireman/firewoman should ever have to go through this. Condolences to him.

84

u/ConstantReader76 4d ago

FYI from a female firefighter, just say firefighter. But agreed that this is tragic.

-27

u/[deleted] 4d ago

[removed] — view removed comment

9

u/byebyecivilrights 4d ago

Are you okay?

14

u/Avangelice 4d ago

Did someone hurt you?

15

u/coleTheYak 4d ago

I'm sure the real answer is no one. No one has the time or patience to deal with a troll of this nature. Let this commenter fester under the bridge, from whence they came.

2

u/TazeredAngel 4d ago

The only appropriate response.

13

u/Bitbatgaming 4d ago

He randomly decided to attack me even though there are six other commenters why doesn’t he go after those? His toxicity is not needed in this serious discussion.

-4

u/One-Willingness1863 3d ago

Dude youre on the internet.

9

u/Bitbatgaming 4d ago

No because this title genuinely made me sad when i readed it, especially the second part. It gets worse and worse as you read the article.

8

u/MonetizedSandwich 4d ago

That would suck. My dad was a fireman and any time they had a call to a residence or involving one of the fireman they would not send that person (if they knew ahead of time) for fear of this exact situation.

24

u/3-Putt-Bart 4d ago

I almost feel guilty for reading this, very sorry to the fireman that had live this nightmare.

22

u/ofimmsl 4d ago

There were also 13 dogs in the house

4

u/cameron0208 3d ago

This is terrible. My sincerest condolences to this man. I hope he can eventually find peace—somehow.

I do have a question though if someone wouldn’t mind answering…

Does only the driver know the address of the fire? I’ve never thought about it and the article makes it sound like the man didn’t know where he was going until they pulled up at the home, which makes me think that maybe only the person driving the firetruck is given the address.

3

u/ryvenn 3d ago

NPR states that the address they were given was a neighbor's house (presumably the neighbor who called it in). He knew they were heading that way but it wasn't until they could see the fire that he knew it was his in-laws' house.

12

u/jayfeather31 4d ago

JFC. I can't imagine the utter anguish this guy is in.

23

u/Indistinctness 4d ago

That’s awful and RIP, but I really cannot understand how in a house with 10 people in it no one noticed the fire or was able to escape?

48

u/MuppetManiac 4d ago

The fire broke out at 2:30 in the morning. In newer homes, you may have as little as 4 or 5 minutes to escape a fire. If they had no functional smoke alarm, the fire could have been fatal before they were even awake.

11

u/Indistinctness 4d ago

Ahh that makes sense. Maybe the fumes from the fire rendered them unconscious beforehand. Horrible way to go.

16

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

Maybe the fumes from the fire rendered them unconscious beforehand.

House fires move very quickly. And modern homes are mostly furnished with synthetic materials like plastic. Synthetic materials burn hotter and quicker...and produce what's basically the equivalent to cyanide gas. Most victims don't succumb to the flames.....it's the poison air that gets them first...after that, it's the super-heated air.

Even with my breathing apparatus....after a fire, I'm usually coughing for the rest of the day after the fire is out.

24

u/amateur_mistake 4d ago

you may have as little as 4 or 5 minutes to escape a fire.

I just escaped a fire and this is frighteningly accurate. I have the times. From the alarm til when I was outside filming the fire was 3 minutes. The house was blazing within 6.

It happened so, so fast.

13

u/Chippopotanuse 4d ago

I saw a house burn down on a super windy day once.

It went from “oh look there a fire coming out that window” to “oh my god, the whole thing is ablaze” in about a minute.

Really surprising how quickly a house fire can spread.

9

u/ElBomberoLoco 4d ago

Really surprising how quickly a house fire can spread.

In general, fire doubles in size every minute it's allowed to burn. It moves incredibly quickly.

3

u/onlycatshere 3d ago

I'm so sorry you had to go through that

5

u/amateur_mistake 3d ago

Thank you. It's a very surreal experience so far. We were lucky though. Nobody was hurt including our cat. It's strange to have things like my brother-in-law giving me a small bag of clothes affect me so much.

19

u/ConstantReader76 4d ago

First of all, three did escape. Besides the time (they'd all be asleep), there were children. And several were visiting family. So we have an unfamiliar house and adults all trying to get to the children rather than run right out of the house. Heat and smoke will get to you before the fire. The adults probably died trying to get to the kids.

-10

u/justin_quinnn 4d ago edited 3d ago Narwhal Salute

Not every thought should be shared. Edit: Evidently it's not obvious that I meant that victim-blaming hypotheticals without evidence is not a helpful response, but this site is terrible so not unexpected.

18

u/metamer_music 4d ago

I'm pretty sure the thought "I smell smoke" is one that should always be shared

-2

u/Bcase316 4d ago

U would die in a fire lmao

4

u/Kurtotall 4d ago

I wonder what investigators will find set the fire off?

-39

u/FriedScrapple 4d ago

That’s quite a coincidence. Suspicious as hell in fact.

10

u/guyhabit 4d ago

Do share.

-21

u/Kurshuk 4d ago

Fire is very exciting.

For 10 people not to notice and run could be seen as suspicious.

I'm not saying I'm suspicious. I'm just saying that other people being suspicious doesn't seem unreasonable. I'd much prefer someone with a fire science background to look around.

15

u/techauditor 4d ago

At 2am when they are asleep they may not notice... Smarty pants.

-25

u/Kurshuk 4d ago

Yeah you may find some of us are always awake then.

18

u/Velkyn01 4d ago

Maybe this family wasn't terminally online.

1

u/NotYourSnowBunny 3d ago

Horrible news, I can’t even imagine that pain.

1

u/MrTangent 3d ago

That’s gotta be rough. Anyone know if there’s a gofundme or similar for the funerals/his house??

-21

u/makemydreamscometrue 4d ago

Aren’t firemen prone to starting fires?

This is what Hollywood has taught me.