I almost never watch TV.  But in the week between Christmas and New Years when iDigHardware and I were on break, I had a few days where I wasn’t exactly sick but didn’t feel like doing much.  Maybe it was because I spend night and day thinking, reading, and writing about hardware and my mind and body needed a break.  While I was laying around doing a lot less than usual, I binge-watched every available episode of the TV show – This Is Us (while making a baby blanket :-).

Since almost the beginning of the show, viewers have known that the dad – Jack – was going to die, and at some point we figured out that it would be due to a fire.  Well, Sunday night after the Super Bowl the episode aired, and (everyone knows so it’s not really a spoiler) the house caught on fire.  Jack made some mistakes during the fire – the smoke alarm battery was gone, and he went back inside for the dog and the photo albums.  BUT – the whole family was sleeping with their bedroom doors closed, which protected them from the inferno in the rest of the house and gave them time to escape.

Unfortunately, the media is not saying much about the closed bedroom doors (so I will).  An article in Time mentioned 3 fire safety lessons from the episode, but left out UL’s message: Close Before You DozeNFPA talked about Jack’s “critical errors” but didn’t say what the family did right.  Dr. Oz called the episode a “teachable moment,” but focused on the issue of cardiac arrest following smoke inhalation.  The Encenitas Fire Department started a smoke detector challenge, but didn’t mention the unsung heroes – the closed doors.  Good Housekeeping came close, with a mention of staying behind a closed door…along with “think twice before accepting hand-me-down appliances” (a faulty slow cooker from a neighbor was to blame).

This was a great opportunity to share the message of closed bedroom doors, but the media missed it.  Hopefully the millions of people watching didn’t.  Check out the information on UL’s site:  Close Before You Doze.


In other news, Jerry Heppes, CEO of DHI experienced a fire at his home recently, and wrote about it in his In Touch column in this month’s Door Security + Safety magazine (formerly Doors & Hardware):

After the fire department put out the fire, (and another shout out to first responders who didn’t hesitate to enter our home to save it), they informed us that had we not shut the two doors I mentioned, the house would have burned to the ground.  Did you read that?  Had we not shut those doors the house would have burned to the ground.  There was also a door to a rear storage area with paint and paper products and guess what?  That door prevented the fire from completely entering that room as well. 

Click here to read Jerry’s full column.


A closed-door video was posted on the Facebook page of the Gadsden Fire Prevention Bureau and picked up by the local news channel – WRBL:


A fire inspector and property manager face tough penalties for failing to address a non-functional fire alarm system and missing fire doors, as reported by the Times Union:  Schenectady inspector faces trial in fatal fire:

Prosecutors say Tyree claimed he inspected the apartment building’s fire alarm system one day before the fire and found it operational — even though the system had not been functioning for three months before the fire.

Last month, Jason Sacks, who was supposed to be managing the apartment building at 104 Jay St., pleaded guilty to four counts of criminally negligent homicide for not ensuring the fire alarm panel worked or having fire doors in hallway stairwells. He will be sentenced March 23 to one to three years in state prison.


A tragic residential fire which killed 7 children in the UAE was reported by the Gulf News:  Why you should sleep with your bedroom door closed:

For your own safety, always close your bedroom doors.  This may be general knowledge but many residents still go to sleep with their bedroom doors open or left ajar that could put them in danger if a fire erupts somewhere in the house.

Civil Defence officials later revealed that faulty living room lights caused the fire. But the rooms, according to their mother, were filled with smoke in no time that claimed the lives of the seven children.


An article from the Korea Joongang Daily compared a recent fire in a hospital with working sprinklers and fire doors, with another recent hospital fire where deficient fire safety features resulted in 43 fatalitiesSejong vs. Severance – preparation was key:

The authorities and National Forensic Service inspected the hospital on Sunday and concluded the fire began on the ceiling on the third floor. They plan to investigate the restaurant managers and hospital facility managers to find out if there was any human error that caused the fire. No casualties were reported, according to authorities. Eight people who inhaled smoke were transferred to other buildings or other hospitals. The situation was a marked contrast to the fire at Sejong Hospital in Miryang, South Gyeongsang, on Jan. 26, which killed 43 and injured nearly 150.

“The fire sprinklers and fire doors worked properly at Severance Hospital,” said Lee Dong-sik, head of the on-site response team for the Seodaemun Fire Department. “The smoke did not travel beyond the third floor of the hospital.”


If you see something in the news that would interest other readers of iDigHardware, send me a link!

Image: NBC

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