To the Editor,
On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 a fast moving 3-alarm fire tore through the second floor of a two-story home on Union Avenue in Elizabeth, N.J. Police spotted smoke pouring out from the home at around 2:30 p.m. and entered the structure to evacuate the residents and two contractors who were working in the home.
As firefighters arrived on the scene the second story of the home was fully involved in the fire and it took nearly two hours to battle down the blaze. An Elizabeth firefighter was taken to the hospital for evaluation after collapsing on the front lawn. By the time the fire was fully subdued the home was declared uninhabitable due to the smoke, fire and water damage.
Thanks to the courageous actions of the police, firefighters and other first responders no lives were lost, however for the retired couple who lived in the home, the property lost in this blaze makes this a sad reminder of how vulnerable our homes, residents and first responders truly are to the ravages of fire.
While smoke alarms are an effective way to alert residents to a fire, they require residents to take action and can do nothing to prevent the spread of fire or extinguish it entirely. Our most vulnerable citizens including children, the elderly and the disabled may not be able to respond to alarms as others might. Fire sprinklers are the only form of proactive fire protection and can protect lives and property by immediately reacting to a fire incident.
I urge you to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the dangers of fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family who has been affected by this tragedy.
David Kurasz, Executive Director
New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board
2 King Arthur Ct., Suite 1
North Brunswick, N.J. 08902