Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Philadelphia Mother Preaches Fire Safety Following Tragedy

Reprinted with Permission from Firehouse.com

By JOANN LOVIGLIOAssociated Press Writer

The mother of three children killed in a fast-moving house fire held up their morgue photographs at a packed church and pleaded with the hundreds in attendance to outfit their homes with smoke detectors to prevent such tragedies.

"This is Zyhire, he was 1 year old," Michelle Dosso said Sunday as wails erupted from the pews of Christ International Baptist Church, just blocks from the home where four adults and three children died in the Friday night blaze.

"This is Ramere, he was 8. ... This is my baby girl, Mariam. She would have been 7 on the 27th," Dosso said from the church altar as she held the little girl's photo aloft. "I promised her a party and ... she's going to get it."

"Don't let them die in vain," she said, urging congregants to get smoke detectors. "Get it done."
The blaze was brought under control in around a half hour but heavy smoke claimed the lives of the seven victims. Six were found huddled together at one end of the room; a seventh was found near the basement's only exit to the outside. Investigators said the interior basement stairs had been removed.

There were no smoke alarms in the house, but alarms probably wouldn't have prevented the tragedy - survivor Harris Murphy, 54, said it started when a kerosene heater exploded as it was being refilled with fuel.

With his hands wrapped in bandages, Murphy told the church congregation that he urged his friend Henry Gbokoloi to have everyone run through the flames but his friend replied, "The firefighters will come and get us." The victims succumbed to smoke before firefighters could reach them.

In addition to Ramere, Mariam, and Zyhire, the other victims were Gbokoloi, 54, and siblings Vivian Teah, 26; Elliott Teah, 23, and Jennifer Teah, 17.

At least 10 members of the extended family were at home watching a movie when the fire broke out in the three-story brick duplex at around 10:45 p.m. Friday in a part of Southwest Philadelphia that is home to many of the city's 15,000 Liberian immigrants.

Showih Kamara, president of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania, said the group was organizing committees to educate the community about home safety and provide assistance or information.

He also said that an account was being set up at Citizens Bank where donations could be made to help the families. Such solidarity "is the usual Liberian spirit," he told the crowd.
The father of the Teah children told the congregation that he was moved by the outpouring of concern from friends and strangers in the Liberian community and said that "only God knows why" such a tragedy could happen.

"I have only one son left now," said Alfred Teah, who brought his family from battle-torn Liberia to the U.S. in the 1990s. "We try to stand strong. ... This is not an end. This is just the beginning."

Friday, December 19, 2008

To our Australian fire service friends, we want to hear from you!

We have noticed that we have been having several visitors from Australian fire brigades to our site. We want to hear from you!

Please send us your video* sharing your fire safety/prevention programs and we will feature your program(s) on our site.

*Please send the Fire Department Participation form when sending in your video.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meri-K Appy, President of the Home Safety Council, visits with Safety Talk Radio

Safety Talk Radio visits with Meri-K Appy, President of the Home Safety Council. This live radio broadcast is the first in a series featuring information on the Home Safety Council.

To learn more about the Home Safety Council, please visit their webpage HERE.
To view the complete press release of this interview click HERE.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Firesafetyeducator.com receives update on Vision 20/20

Firesafetyeducator.com caught up with Vision 20/20 Project Manager Jim Crawford at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland and received the latest update on the project.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NFPA Develops New Heating Toolkit

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has produced a new online tool kit that helps everyone understand the safe use of all types of heating equipment.

According to NFPA, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. Our greatest defense against these fires is education. NFPA has developed "Keeping Your Community Safe and Warm."

Every fire department in the United States has been mailed a CD which contains a toolkit of support materials to help them conduct successful heating-safety campaigns in their communities.

"Sparky® is a registered trademark of the NFPA". Photo used with permission.