Deadbolt lock inside house may have trapped 2 people who died in Magnolia fire, says MFD chief
Tragedy struck a home on Woodway St. near FM 1486 in Magnolia, Texas early Friday morning as a couple was unable to escape the engulfing flames. Firefighters rushed to the scene but could not save either of the two individuals inside.
The small house was already incinerated from the back when emergency crews arrived. However, they were able to rescue an unconscious woman found near the front door. The firefighters performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but the woman did not survive, according to Magnolia Fire Chief Jeff Hevey. Meanwhile, a man was found a few steps from the door, already lifeless.
Chief Hevey suspects that the couple was trying to escape through the front door, which was locked from the inside by a deadbolt, resulting in their entrapment. “I’m not a fan of having to use a key inside the house to get out the door,” the chief expressed. “You should be able to use your thumb and turn around and leave the house quickly, because you never know where your keys are.”
Around 25 to 30 firefighters from Magnolia and Montgomery immediately responded to the emergency. Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams of Montgomery County revealed that four people had already died in the past month due to wildfires across the county, three of them in Montgomery.
Chief Hevey emphasizes the importance of smoke detectors and how they can make a difference between life and death. “If you wake up and you’re already choking on smoke and the smoke is what woke you up, the time to leave the house is greatly reduced,” Chief Hevey commented. However, it has yet to be determined if the home had smoke alarms that were operational by family members.
Investigations are ongoing as to the cause of the fire. The latest incident underscores the imperative need for fire safety measures such as functional smoke detectors with easy-to-use exits to prevent future fatalities.
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