A lethal house fire is under investigation in Flora. Early Monday morning
around 3:40 a.m., a neighbor awoke to a mother screaming for help. That
mother, who had escaped her first floor bedroom and was outside the burning
house, could not get to her four daughters in upstairs bedrooms. The first
responder to the Flora house fire was Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy
Drew Yoder, and he entered the home in an attempt to rescue the girls.
After being overcome by the fire and smoke inhalation, he was pulled from
the house by Josh Disinger, a Flora police officer.
The mother, who has yet to be identified publicly, remains hospitalized,
and Deputy Drew Yoder had to be airlifted to a special burn treatment
facility, where he remains in stable condition. The four young girls appear
to have slept through the fire and died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation.
The sisters have been identified as Kionnie Precious Welch (Age 5), Kerriele
Danyell McDonald (7), Keyara Janell Phillips (9), and Keyana Latrice Davis (11).
The home had been divided into two apartments, and the occupant of the
other unit escaped unharmed. Some news sites are reporting there was only
one working smoke alarm in the entire home, but there has been no definitive
statement from investigators on this matter or the official cause of the fire.
Smoke Alarms Can Be Critical During a Home Fire
Smoke alarms are the best line of defense when it comes to avoiding serious
injury or death due to fire. As in the Flora house fire, fatalities often
occur when the occupants of a structure have no warning about a fire breakout.
This is especially true for nighttime fires, when unsuspecting residents
can suffocate on smoke without ever waking to discover a fire.
Despite the importance of these simple devices, smoke alarms only sound
in slightly more than half of all home fires. According to the
National Fire Protection Association, 60% of all home fire deaths occurred in homes where there was no working
smoke alarm, as was the case in the Flora house fire. Nearly 40% of those
deaths resulted from fires in homes completely lacking alarms, and 21%
resulted from fires in homes where the smoke alarms were not functioning
for one reason or another. Dead batteries are the cause of a full quarter
of smoke alarm failures.
Home fires can occur due to electrical problems, appliances, candles, chemicals
or gases, smoking materials, and many other sources. Certainly, in many
instances there is little we can do to prevent the fire, as the source
may be unknown or undiscovered. With so many fire sources out of our control,
it is critical to use smoke alarms, placed correctly and functioning properly.
Check batteries regularly. If you are a renter and your smoke alarm is
wired into your rental, alert your landlord if you believe the alarm is
malfunctioning in any way. Seek legal assistance in situations where your
landlord is not doing their part to maintain or repair smoke alarms after
being alerted to a problem. Your family’s safety may be at risk.
If a fire tragically strikes your family as a result of another’s
burn injury attorneys at Wagner Reese will sort through all the investigative and
other evidence to support your claim for damages. Call us today for a
free consultation and find out how we will fight for you: (888) 204-8440.