The Columbian reports that Portland, Oregon firefighters responded to an apartment fire and could hear screaming inside and see smoke seeping from under the door. So they kicked in the door and found — a cat. The cat — named Dude — was fine after the firefighters took him outside and gave him some oxygen. The apartment's automatic sprinklers contained the fire to the couch, where it started.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, a family cat died in a house fire that the fire marshal’s office said was caused by “carelessly discarded smoking material in a trash can.”
All one has to do is Google "cat dies in house fire" or "dog dies in house fire" to begin to understand that there is a problem. During my firefighter career I was able to rescue pets from house fires, and I also witnessed the death of many pets.
In the home fire sprinkler debate, we always talk about fire sprinklers saving lives; but we are talking about human lives. The loss of a pet in a fire may be just as devastating to a family. Our pets are precious to us and we mourn their deaths the same any other family member’s death.
Fire sprinklers are proven to save lives. If you have a reported fire in your home the risk of dying decreases by about 80%. The Portland fire reminds us that pets are equally protected by fire sprinklers in the home.
Special thanks to Marty Ahrens who provided the inspiration for this post.