Young children most vulnerable during fires

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Smoke inhalation was the cause of death for a mother and her sons killed in a house fire Tuesday night in West Ashley.

The Charleston County coroner identified 30-year old Mary Brown and her sons 3-year old twin boys Isiah and Isiac Brown as the victims from the fatal house fire. Exactly one year ago, a fire also took the lives of a 2-month old girl and a 2-year old boy in North Charleston.

Experts said Wednesday that aside from the elderly, children under age five are most at risk of dying during a fire.

Saint Andrews Fire Department Chief Mark Schrade said that it is a target age group for safety lessons.

"Kids typically will try and hide from a situation," Schrade said. "That's just human nature that allows them to want to hide. We try to teach them they need to get out of the house."

Firefighters teach young kids the basics like stop, drop and roll if fire gets on their clothes and crawling on the ground to the exit when there is smoke in the house. Schrade said firefighters will get in full gear and talk to kids because sometimes kids are afraid.

"We want them to feel comfortable," Schrade said. "We want them to understand that we sound a little like Darth Vader and to be comfortable with us. There are kids that struggle."

They also talk to young people about safe evacuation routes and meeting places.

"Kids are extremely intelligent and can learn a lot and respond to a lot," Schrade said. "We as adults have to be the ultimate ones that have to protect them and continue to teach them."

With a growing number of young children from the Lowcountry falling victim to fire, officials remind parents to practice with their kids and make sure they know what to do to stay safe.

Fire departments in the area will send a firefighter out to schools or daycares for safety talks when requested. Firefighters say after the lesson, it is then up to parents to continue educating their children.

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