A candle started a deadly blaze in a Toledo, Ohio home, taking the lives of a woman and three children with it.
The fire started at around 10 p.m. on November 28, 2007. Neighbor Mike Matzinger, 49, was inside doing dishes at the time. He looked out the kitchen window and saw flames leaping out of the first floor of his neighbors house. He says he then ran outside, and tried to break through the back door of the house on fire. When it was locked, he started yelling for the kids in the house, who he believed to be upstairs, to come to the back window so that he could catch them. When they never came, he ran to the front of the house, and encountered a man without shoes, presumably the father, screaming “My kids! My kids! They’re in the house!” By that time flames and smoke were pouring out the first floor, and they were unable to reach the victims still trapped inside.
Fire investigators found the womans body on the lower level. The three children-two girls and a younger boy, were found huddled together in an upstairs hallway. It appears they became disoriented in their attempt to find a way out. The three died together in that upstairs hallway. Fire officials said it did not appear the home had working smoke detectors.
The fire was contained in less than an hour, but the carnage it left behind will last forever. This is exactly the type of tragedy that all of us work so hard to prevent. Four lives were lost, 3 of them young children, and it was all avoidable. Not only would smoke detectors have aided in this family’s escape, but had the children been trained in fire prevention and escape, the outcome might have been much different. A few minutes of preparation can prevent the lifetime of hurt that’s left behind after tragedies like this.