Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire

Anybody who doesn’t think this is going to be one of the worst days of the lives of everyone involved does not understand.

First. Not knowing anything more than what is in the headline, don’t be surprised if the number of dead increases. The original title of the article was, One Dead, Seven Rescued In Houston Daycare Fire. These stories are not the kind that get better with time. Burns and pain and little kids do not make for good memories.

Reading the article, there are several things that grab my attention.

HFD Executive Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan said CPR was being performed on four of the children as they were being taken to a hospital. The ages of the children range from 18 months to 3 years.[1]

People will talk about CISM/CISD and other forms of coping attempting to cope, but they do not work any* better than just talking this out with coworkers and/or family.[2] My home family is different from my work family.

I could never talk about these things with family members that do not have patient care experience.

How do we get them to understand?

If we do get them to understand, how can we ever apologize for bringing that pain into their lives?

Why would we want to bring that kind of pain into the lives of those we love?

Sandy Sawyer, who has lived in the neighborhood for five years, said she saw firefighters rushing children to ambulances.

“I saw them running down the street holding babies, running, because there wasn’t enough room for the emergency vehicles to get through,” Sawyer said.[1]

The more people are screaming about things being out of control, the more we need to slow down and remain in control.

When we pull up to the scene, do we park so that others will be able to get by?

The police are in charge of traffic, but that does not mean that the police cannot be the biggest problem in obstructing traffic. Parking a short walk from the scene to allow fire trucks to get in is going to make everyone’s life easier and might make some lives longer.

EMS is supposed to transport people from the fire, but the same rule applies as for police. We do not need to drive up to the front door. Stretchers have wheels and small children are very light. We need to park where we will be able to get out of the scene when it is time to leave.

Fire truck do need to get close enough to put water/foam in the places necessary to put out the fire, but that does not mean that they should not park in a way to allow other vehicles as much room to get around them as possible.

This is not New York City on September 11, 2001. We do need to work together. None of us are unimportant.

Five of the children were trapped inside the facility and were rescued by Houston firefighters, while the other two children were found outside the home.[1]

Thank you.

A year ago today, the operation, registered as a “child-care home,” was cited by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Child Care Licensing division for not having a fire extinguisher on hand.

She later corrected the problems, according to Gwen Carter, a DFPS spokeswoman.[1]

Fire extinguishers are important, but much more important is knowing how to use one and using it appropriately.

A fire extinguisher is a tool and tools are only useful when used appropriately.

Would that have made a difference?

I don’t know if the fire extinguisher was used. I don’t know anything about the fire.

I do know that aggressive use of a fire extinguisher before a fire spreads can be the difference between apologizing to the fire department for calling them to a fire that is already out and losing everything.

There is no substitute for actually using a fire extinguisher. It is worth the cost of having to replace an extinguisher.


The things described in the video should all be known before hand if you are at home. If you are not, slow down, take a breath, check the type of extinguisher, et cetera.

How not to put out a fire. Point the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire has never felt right to me. Aim below the fire, but not straight at the fire, works better for me.


With the video below, because the fire is in a very light container, aiming below the fire will only cause it to tip over and spread, so think about where to aim, what you are aiming at, and how far away to stand.



[1] Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire (Videos) – CPR was being performed on four of the children as they were being taken to a hospital.

[2] Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM): Benefit or Risk for Emergency Services.
Bledsoe BE.
Prehosp Emerg Care. 2003 Apr-Jun;7(2):272-9. Review.
PMID: 12710792 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text PDF from Dr. Bledsoe’s website http://www.bryanbledsoe.com/

* Corrected from and to any as pointed out by russ reina of EMS Outside Agitator.



  1. I am trying to understand how the neighbors who were nearby were unable to grab at least one child and get out of the small house?

    Firefighters got all of the children out – at least the story seems to say that. The homeowner also failed to rescue children, it seems, as she was at home for several minutes before running out to scream. Did she try to save the home before the kids?

    If you can’t breathe you hold your breath and run in a few feet into the home to check the scene. Run back out and take a breath then explore again. Get a wet towel for your head and save the children! Every minute counted and precious minutes were lost when no bystander chose to be a hero.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brad Buck, EMS Blogs. EMS Blogs said: From #RogueMedic: Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire http://bit.ly/gqr8Rk #EMS #Blog #EMSBlogs […]

  2. […] In Houston Daycare Fire, my esteemed colleague, Rogue Medic had this to say as the lead-in to his recent Blog: Anybody who doesn’t think this is going to be one of the worst days of the lives of everyone […]

  3. […] Outside Agitator writes in response to my post Three Children Dead, Four Hospitalized After Houston Daycare Fire – The truth is, we and every one of our patients WERE exactly like those kids once. All […]