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Defective products: ineffective smoke alarms can be deadly

Defective products like car parts heavy machinery can leave a devastating last impression on families of victims, as we have seen in the recent past with stories out of General Motors and the various equipment failures that lead to serious injuries and death on work sites. But one area where many don't consider the manufacturing negligence of defective products is with smoke detectors. In some cases, smoke detectors and fire alarms do not sense intense heat; therefore, some electrical fires and other types of fires that start inside of walls do not get noticed until it is already too late.

Sad news out of Altoona on Saturday where a mother and her two young children were killed in a fire. There were six people total in the home at the time of the fire and three escaped. The Blair County coroner's office reported that a 31-year-old woman and her 9-year-old and 20-month-old daughters were killed as a result of the fire. 

One man, who was on his way to the Logan Valley Mall in Altoona when his some pointed to the house fire, got out to see if he could help. The man found three people on the roof of the front porch and saw that the house was visibly on fire, so he helped the three people jump down off the roof. He described one man as very badly burned with his hair singed off, and from the man's screaming was able to figure out that the victim's wife or girlfriend and kids were still inside.

Indeed, a woman and her two children were stuck in the second bathroom and could not get out. The man said he kicked the front door in and made it about two feet before he realized he couldn't save them; that's when fire crews showed up. The Altoona Fire Department ran through the building without the proper safety equipment fastened to attempt to save the three inside, but were unsuccessful.

Altoona's fire chief told reporters that his firemen faced a few challenges along the way, including a water main break that cut their water supply during the search and rescue attempt. The fire chief went on to say that he has never witnessed a more valiant act of bravery, adding that the men went in with no water and still tried to save the family. The crew did eventually reach the mother and her children, and pulled them out of the burning home, but the three of them had already succumbed to injuries and smoke inhalation.

An investigation is ongoing and there is no indication of any foul play; however, specific attention is being paid to the home's fire and smoke alarms and whether or not they were correctly working.

If you have been injured or lost someone because of defective products such as poorly manufactured smoke and fire alarms, call the Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys at Goodrich & Geist today for a free consultation at 412-766-1455.

Source: WJAC TV, "Names released of woman, child and infant killed in Altoona fire on Saturday" 18 Saturday 2015

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