Why It Seems Like There Are More Fires in Cold Weather
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Tue Feb 2019
- Burn Injury,
Turn on the news, and you see it everywhere. Last month, fire engulfed and destroyed a landmark paper mill in Bergen County. In the meantime, Union County continues to experience its own share of fires in the cold weather. Sadly, the year started with a woman killed in an early morning blaze in a Rahway home.
In some cases, it appears that fires during the winter months occur around the holidays. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that a fair number of home fires start with problems with Christmas trees. Even artificial trees pose fire risks when it comes to electrical distribution or setting up lights.
That said, holiday celebrations aren’t the only cause for the appearance of more fires when it’s cold outside. People are more apt to use their fireplaces as an additional heat source. There are also potential problems with space heaters and electric blankets. Additionally, a malfunctioning HVAC unit could act as an ignition source.
Seeking reprieve from the cold for some means heating up the oven and opening the door. Unfortunately, this exposes occupants to carbon monoxide. This silent gas is a killer and has taken its share of lives during all types of conditions.
Fighting Fires in Cold Weather
Fighting fires in cold weather imposes particular challenges for firefighters. Bad weather may even contribute to response times. After arriving at the scene, firefighting operations could be hampered as first responders deal with these types of issues:
• Freezing temperatures causing ice formation
• Apparatus equipment weather-related malfunctions
• Frozen or snow-covered hydrants
Severe cold puts both firefighters and victims at risk for hypothermia. Without a doubt, the longer a fire blazes – the more chance for fatalities or severe burn injuries.
Fire Fatalities and Injuries
Without question, fire represents terror. If you’re lucky enough to survive a fire, you may experience horrific burns or inhalation injuries. Overall, living life a burn injury victim comes with its share of challenges.
Even the slightest burn can cause extreme personal injury. Unfortunately, someone burned in a house fire or other structure may suffer second- or third-degree burns. Burn classifications are based on thickness. A second-degree burn refers to partial-thickness burns; third-degree burns are full-thickness.
If the doctors diagnose you with second-degree burns, you will likely notice some blistering in the burned area. Third-degree burns actually give the skin a more leathery appearance and are white.
The worst burns are fourth-degree burns. If you suffer this type of burn, your injuries extend beyond your skin. In fact, they go as deep as your bones and tendons.
Burn injuries may cause disfigurement, and you may need grafting. You could face several years of treatment and surgeries as a result of a burn injury.
Smoke inhalation poses one of the most significant risks for victims of fire. Truth be told, it is the number one cause of fire-related deaths.
When you inhale smoke during a fire, you also may take in harmful gases. As a result, your airway and lungs become inflamed. Smoke inhalation can cause swelling and an inability to take in oxygen. Remarkably, you might not suffer ill effects of smoke inhalation until after a couple of days after the fire.
At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo, we have the resources and experience that proves useful to injury victims for fire-related claims. There is no charge to meet with us and we are only paid if we obtain monetary damages on your behalf. Give us a call to see how we can help.