While it is nice to have the latest electronics and cookware in your home, perhaps some should slow down on all the gadget buys. A recent review of Google News for ‘kitchen fire’ shows an upward surge in homes being burned down because of these same devices. New American consumer habits are getting alarming new results. As people get lost in voyeurism via social media and netflix, it appears to be time for custom home renovations.
If you search Google News for “kitchen fire’ any day of the week, a simple check of the last 24 hours will get multiple news headlines of tragic events. Some fires cause the loss of human and pet lives, while others do $70,000 damage (read here) to personal belongings. All of these cases are ruled accidents, where people simply lose focus on what they are cooking. After leaving the stove or oven on for too long, a fire is sparked. The only answer after this takes place for most, calling the firefighters.
The story about $70K in damage being caused by a kitchen fire is far from the only one. That event took place in Topeka, Kansas. Within the same day, a story was reported in Pen Hills, PA of similar nature. An Upland Terrace home was badly burned, leaving a woman and her two children fleeing outside for safety. The Pennsylvania mother lost focus of her cooking activities while in a conversation with her mother. When she returned back inside, the kitchen was engulfed in flames. The fire created a need for an estimated $40,000 in custom home renovation o the 1st and 2nd floors of the house now. Also, the property is uninhabitable and additional water damage was caused to the basement.
A tragedy greater then financial loss occurred just north of PA in New York City. In the community of Harlem, a family of 6 people were killed from a stove left on. News 4 reports say the blaze was so bad, firefighters and investigators were some what riddled. The team reviewing the scene concluded this deadly NYC fire started by the oven because its knob was still in the ‘on’ position after all extinguished. The woman who owned the apartment was killed before she could escape along with her 2 girls and 2 boys, age 3 to 11. Also, a 33-year-old male relative lost there life while visiting as well.
“When the firefighters arrived, fire met them at the door of the apartment. Fire was out the windows on two sides of the building – it’s a large apartment on the fifth floor, a six-room apartment. Firefighters pushed in rapidly but were unable to save the members of this family who were found in two bedrooms,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said of the Harlem tragedy.
Renovations to the apartment such as a better alarm system and some steel reinforcements may have helped the family buy time to escape the blaze. However, many buildings in Manhattan and New York are outdated. Gizmodo report buildings’ ages ranging from pre-war to 1980 construction standards on average. Though city building codes are supposed to be kept up to date, it’s better residents educate themselves on the latest custom home renovation ideas for safety. Otherwise, there’s high stakes being gambled by trusting the security of past construction ideas.
Across in another timezone, in the state of Wisconsin, a similar apartment fire killed a man believed to be between 50 to 60 years of age. Had it not been for the quick thinking of a few brave residents of the building, even more could have been found deceased.
“As our firefighters began to lay out our line and start their search and rescue, they found him near the front entryway,” said Schuyler Belott, Milwaukee Fire Department.
Though a tragedy unfolded, a blessing to many was the two brave Milwaukeens who saw the deadly fire unfolding. A woman named Jessi Johnson and her daughter, saw the fire bust out a window in the Northwest side apartment building and immediately went into ‘superwomen’ mode. The two broke out windows of other apartments alerting people of the fire and helping them escape the coming blaze. The two’s efforts were nothing short of miraculous as the large majority of the building escaped without injury. Local news, Fox6, reports that its believed the fire started in an apartment kitchen. However, full details won’t be released until a more thorough investigation.
3 Safety & Custom Home Renovation Tips
Many of these alarming and devastating kitchen fires could have been been prevented. If not that, at least the damage could have been drastically reduced. Several new home construction methods and tools could have been used in these homes to save heartache. Here is a list of a few custom home renovations anyone can make today, to help prevent a bad fire.
- Fire Sprinklers – According to the NFPA, the #1 addition to be made to many houses is an adequate and current, residential fire sprinkler system. These are designed to limit the spread of the fire or reduce the speed of which it can spread. As of 2019, these should be designed to have a connected water supply that can last up to 10 minutes with high pressure. In may cases, this simple addition can control the fire.
- Fire-Detecting Wallpaper – Most do not know about the hydroxyapatite wallpaper (featured on NYPost) invention of 2018. Researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics at the Chinese Academy of Science made this home safety product. Nicknamed the ‘fire alarm wallpaper,’ it can detect the elevated heat levels and set off the fire alarm. The wallpaper’s ink-based graphene oxide is what senses fires and also able to conduct electricity. The ink is also an electrical insulator. It can transfer electric signals to trigger the fire alarm and also help contain the fire in a limited space for an extended period.
- Fire-Resistant OSB Sheathing – The company Flameblock (see here) has become quite famous for there sheath panels that resist fire. Adding this to your walls of the home, especially the kitchen area should give you 15 or more extra minutes to escape a blaze should it break out in the cooking area. This can be used for interior or exterior work. The fire repellant qualities come from its thin coating of nontoxic magnesium oxide cement and fiberglass bonded to the OSB.
While their are many more custom home renovations that could be made to prevent tragedies, these 3 are known to have saved countless lives recently. Putting the knowledge of these items to use in your home can make the difference of an extra 30 minutes to escape a gas explosion in another room. More then that, it can also buy time for the firefighters to arrive and put out any blaze before it does severe damage. This could save a homeowner hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.
Watch the video below for additional home fire safety tips. These tips are considered common sense but still need to be drilled into the mind.