Last Thursday a fire in the village of Fournier, located only a few kilometres from Russell took the life of a three year old child. Young Damien Desjardins-Seguin was in the home with a caretaker and his twin brother Miguel when the fire broke out. According to reports the caretaker was in the process of leading the two small boys out of the burning home when young Damien broke away from her and ran back into the home, it is believed that he ran back to save his dog. Despite the efforts of the caretaker, she was unable to locate or retrieve young Damien and was forced from the home by smoke and flames. Firefighters on scene found Damienís body on the second floor of the small home, the body of his dog was found lying on top of Damien. The boy was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene, according to recent reports the cause of death has been determined to be smoke inhalation. At the time of writing this article many of the details surrounding this fire are not yet known, the Ontario Fire Marshals Office will be conducting an investigation as to how the blaze began. Despite the findings of the impending investigation the real tragedy is young Damienís decision to run back into the burning building in what appears to be an attempt to save his dog. This is a matter of concern that as fire educators we repeatedly address with children, in Damienís case he was only three years old and likely had not begun school so possibly he had not received this message. We must stress to parents that it is imperative that all children, regardless of their age, are made aware that they are not to attempt to save pets in a house fire. This is not only directed at children, the same message applies to adults as well. The time available to escape a burning building is very short, in most cases it is less than 60 to 90 seconds from the sounding of a smoke alarm. Due to the short window of opportunity available to escape a burning home, establishing a well executed plan is vital to survival. Basically we preach that in the event of a fire, escaping the home is your responsibility, it is our responsibility to put the fire out. If your plan involves waiting for the fire service to help you escape, then you donít have a plan that is practical. The Fournier fire is an example of how fast things can change in a fire, one moment the caretaker was successfully leading the children to safety and in the blink of an eye her world changed forever. The Russell Fire Department would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Seguin family, we would also like to extend our sympathies to Fournier Fire Chief Tobias Hovey and the firefighters who had to deal with the death of a child at a fire scene.
Published in the Russell Villager - Sept 2, 2009