Tragedy struck over the weekend, when a fire swept through a two-story house in Brooklyn, New York. Seven siblings, ranging in age from 5 to 15, lost their lives — and the members of the Millburn Fire Department are united in their grief for the children's family and their close-knit community.
While the investigation is ongoing, preliminary findings suggest that an electric hot plate, which was left on overnight to warm food, malfunctioned. Inspectors have found no smoke detectors on the first or second floors, and it is unclear as to whether a smoke detector found in the basement was functioning properly.
"While no one is to blame for this terrible accident, it serves as a painful reminder of the importance of taking preventative safety precautions," said Millburn Fire Chief J. Michael Roberts. "These include never leaving a stove or cooking device unattended, and ensuring that both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed on every floor of the home."
Equally important, Chief Roberts said, is making sure that alarms work properly. "In addition to testing alarms regularly and changing the batteries twice a year, alarms should be replaced altogether when they reach the end of their shelf life, which is typically eight to ten years."
"On behalf of the Millburn Fire Department and all our emergency first responders, I convey our prayers and sympathies to the individuals and families affected by this tragedy," said Chief Roberts.