STAMFORD, Conn. — The following is a letter to the editor from Brendan Keatley, the president of the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association, regarding the Christmas Day fire and the rescue attempts made by firefighters.
On behalf of the men and women of the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Badger and Johnson families for the terrible losses they suffered. It was a sad day for the city of Stamford.
The first due units arrived on the scene in just over five minutes after the emergency call was received at 4:52 am. Firefighters from Engine 4 used a portable 24-foot ladder to reach a second-floor roof and then climbed scaffolding to get into the home’s third floor to begin search and rescue efforts for the three children and two adults. The second engine company arrived two minutes later. Forty-six firefighters utilizing 12 pieces of fire apparatus responded to the fire.
The first priority of the firefighters was to rescue anyone trapped inside the house. When firefighters arrived at the scene all three floors of the building were fully involved in flames and heavy heat in this rapidly moving fire. Firefighters made numerous attempts to breach the interior of the house in an attempt to reach those trapped inside; however, the severity of the smoke and flames drove them back. Four firefighters sustained injuries while attempting to rescue those inside, including Capt. Mark Shannon, who suffered second-degree burns on his face.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, though only 20 percent of reported fires occurred between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., 50 percent of the deaths caused by fire were reported during this time period.
We urge families to make sure that their home's smoke detectors are in working order and that carbon monoxide detectors be replaced every five years. Talk to your family about the dangers of fire and explain to your children what they should do in case of a fire. Have a family escape plan and practice the plan regularly. If you have any fire safety questions, contact your local fire department for further assistance.
The Stamford Fire & Rescue Department is a career fire department that has been serving the city since the late 1800s. Stamford Fire & Rescue consists of 265 firefighters operating out of nine fire stations. In addition to basic firefighter and officer certifications, Stamford Fire & Rescue personnel are certified in Hazardous Material Operations and Technician levels, Emergency Medical Technician, SCUBA, Confined Space and Trench Rescue and many other skills, including medical first responder with automatic heart defibrillation capabilities.