The tragic fire that killed four children last week in Roseland is a bitter reminder that the city can’t always protect us from negligent landlords.
Eri’ana Smith, 7; Shamarion Coleman, 12; Carlvon Clark, 13, and Carliysia Clark, 15, may have died because there were no working smoke detectors in the second floor apartment where they lived. But there were smoke detectors in the hallway.
Most of us tend to replace the batteries in our smoke detectors at the first chirp.
But children across the country have perished in fires because their homes lacked working smoke detectors.
In July, four children were killed when a fast-moving fire destroyed an entire block in Philadelphia. The dead children ranged from age four to 1-month old. While two smoke detectors had been installed where the children died, it was unclear if the devices were working.
In 2013, four children were killed and their mother was severely burned in a house fire in Conyers, Ga. The mother suffered second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of her body as she tried to save children ranging from ages 8 months to 9 years old.
In 2008, four children were killed in a house fire in Bethlehem, Pa. The city’s fire department found only one smoke detector in the basement of the building and it had no batteries.