Deadly mistakes made in house fires - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Deadly mistakes made in house fires

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

We've been taught fire safety rules since grade school, but put in a real life situation would you remember them?

Most of us remember the Stop-Drop-Roll rule. Well it's more than just a saying taught to kids during fire safety week, it's science, and it has to do with carbon monoxide.

The thought of burning to death is the reason a lot of us fear fire, but the truth is, the smoke will often claim a person's life before the fire even reaches them.

"The carbon monoxide blocks your body from absorbing oxygen. The next thing you know you're unconscious from the carbon monoxide," said Dan Wilkerson with Huntsville Fire and Rescue.

Another deadly mistake people make, according to Wilkerson, is not getting out and staying out of a burning home.

Firefighters say when homes are on fire and the occupants do leave, there's sometimes the urge to go back in.

Scarlett Drane has been there. Drane watched her home be destroyed by fire this past summer. She went back into her home after it caught on fire to look for a family pet.

"When you read about things like that you think, how stupid, how could they go back in? They risked their lives," she said.

While her family was safe outside, her dog Gracie was inside the burning home.

"My advice on that is to definitely give your animal the chance to have a surviving caregiver and get you out, then call 911 to send professionals to get the help for your animal," she said, looking back on what happened.

Firefighters eventually found the dog alive.

"Don't ever go back in for anything - not paperwork, not pets, not family members because more times than not, when they go back in that house, they don't make it back out," warns Wilkerson.

Finally, a small fire can grow in a matter of seconds,

"The natural reaction is to do something," said Wilkerson.

He has plenty of stories of those who have died trying to save their home and belongings.

"Get out, call 911 and let us come and take care of the fire," he advised.

Firefighters say how you react in a situation has a lot to do with having a plan and practicing that plan. Without one, they say, a small mistake could be a deadly one.

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