Northern Michigan Firefighters Explain How to Child Proof Your Home

“What happened in New York was a once in a decade, once in 20 years type of fire,” says Lt. Kyle Clute, Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department

New York City leaders are calling it the deadliest apartment fire in decades, with a dozen dead and many others injured.

A New York City fire commissioner says a mother and her two children escaped their Bronx apartment on the first floor after her three-year-old son turned on a stove Thursday night.

Fire raced up into the five floors above.

“We do about five cases a year where children were playing with some sort of incendiary device or lighters, matches,” Clute says.

Lt. Kyle Clute says it’s relatively uncommon but it does happen.

“Kids are naturally curious, so the best way to prevent anything like this from happening is to teach them early on what’s safe and what’s not safe,” Clute says.

He says a simple mistake can lead to disastrous consequences.

So — education starts early, in schools.

“We spend a lot of times, working with a younger generation of people to teach them good fire safety practices to hopefully avoid something like this,” Clute says.

The stove top could be a dangerous application for your child to get close to, much like lighters, so there are many preventative measures that you can even pick up from your local hardware store.

For example, drawer latches and even oven locks could go a long way to preventing the worst from happening.

“Every time you lose somebody in a house fire, it’s a tragedy, so we want to try to avoid that from happening from the get go from any circumstance,” Clute says.

To those who live in apartments like Patrick Deveja, what happened in the Bronx is an eye-opener.

“Everything is one, together, if there was a fire next door, it would spread to my building and you wouldn’t even notice until it started coming through the walls,” Deveja says.

But with routine fire inspections and safety systems like sprinklers, he feels safe.

“If really something did happen, there’s fire alarms and sprinklers and all that other stuff so we would be able to catch it and get out safely,” Deveja says.