By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
After watching a bedroom erupt into flames in a matter of seconds, local families likely examined their own homes a little closer when they went home on Saturday.
For the first time, Bowling Green Fire Division’s annual open house featured a simulated fire scene.
“I think it’s really hit home,” Fire Chief Bill Moorman said. “It’s going to really leave a lasting impression.”
The fire scene showed two side-by-side bedrooms. One was riddled with fire hazards – cigarette butts on the floor, a candle left burning on the dresser, overloaded extension cords, small zip cords used improperly, and heavy furniture sitting on electrical cords.
“I guarantee the kids are going to go home and check it out,” Moorman said.
The fire structure was constructed by the Bowling Green firefighters specifically for the open house. The purpose was to show not just fire hazards, and the importance of smoke detectors, but also how quickly fire can spread, said firefighter/paramedic Nathan Espinoza.
Very soon after the fire started in one bedroom, the temperature in the room hit 1,200 degrees, Espinoza said.
The bedroom next door, with it’s door shut, stayed at 90 degrees – until the door was opened.
“As soon as he opened the door, it shot up to 300 degrees,” Espinoza said.
The safe bedroom was also equipped with a sprinkler system, which is becoming more standard in homes, Moorman said. Unlike smoke detectors which may go off when food is burned in the kitchen, the sprinklers are activated only when the temperature reaches certain temperatures.
“The technology is very reliable,” the chief said.
That information stuck with Emerson Jordan, 9, who was waiting his turn to use the fire hose to put out a pretend fire.
“It puts out the fire before the firemen get there,” Emerson said about smoke detectors.
Emerson also remembered the importance of keeping his bedroom door shut at night, to prevent a fire from quickly spreading.
Hannah Sayler, 10, left the open house with the same knowledge.
“If you have a sprinkler in your home, it’s good,” she said.
Parents were similarly impacted by the fire simulation.
“It’s going to make us go home and check all our stuff for fire safety,” Amanda Gamby said.
Also at the fire open house, families watched a demonstration of extrication equipment on a van, got to spray a fire hose, and sat in fire trucks and ambulances.
“We’ve had a lot of families here,” Moorman said.
The fire open house is held every October, which is National Fire Safety Month.