Toddler’s Plea To Go Outside May Have Saved Neighbors From Home Explosion

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The Fohler family had been hanging out inside their home in unincorporated Gurnee on Friday evening when their 2.5-year-old boy started pleading to get outdoors. With cooler temps in the forecast, Ludek Fohler, the toddler’s father, decided to take a walk to a nearby park to “warm us up” instead of simply playing on the family’s backyard he’d just finished building the weekend before.

A little while later, the family felt the ground shake and saw a plume of smoke and flames go up in the air, the Daily Herald reports.

The home next door, at 36437 Streamwood Drive in unincorporated Gurnee, had exploded.

The family then rushed home while calling 911.

Their daughter, Tara, was in her upstairs bedroom at the time doing her homework. All of the ceilings on the second floor fell into the bedrooms, however Tara, and the family’s dog, was able to escape major injury, according to reports.

The blast could be felt six miles away and left one person dead in the home that exploded.

In total, six other homes were damaged by debris from the explosion. Prior to the explosion, several people in the neighborhood reported the smell of gas, the Daily Herald reports. The State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of the explosion.

An autopsy is being conducted and Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper will use DNA or dental records to figure out the identity of the person killed in the explosion since the body was so badly burned, the Lake County-News Sun reports.

Fire Safety For Kids by Kids Safety Network

fire safety for kids

Here Are Five Essential Tips.

  1. Never try to put out a fire yourself.

    Stress to your children this important fact: it’s not their responsibility to put out a fire, fleeing the area should be their #1 priority. Make sure your children know that extinguishing fires is a job for firemen, not them. The only thing on their minds when they see fire should be to get away. Once they are safe, then they can find an adult for help or call 911 from a neighbor’s home.

  1. Stop, Drop & Roll.

    If your child finds their clothing on fire, teach them how to Stop (cease all movement and running), Drop (fall to the ground), and Roll (roll around until the fire is out). This is an important skill and while it might be counterintuitive, it can save their life.

  1. Go Low. Smoke rises

    When fleeing a smoke-filled room, children should crouch down to the ground and leave on their hands and knees. This will minimize smoke inhalation and help them find safety easier. Practice crawling on your hands and knees with your children to drive the message home.

  1. Fire is not a toy

    Instill in your children a healthy respect for fire. Fire is never to be played with whether it’s a campfire or in the form of matches or lighters. Teach your children that if they see someone playing with fire in any way, they should immediately notify an adult.

  1. Plan your escape

    Sit your family down and plan escape routes for all areas of your home. Ideally, your home has two exits per room (windows included). Walk your children through the multiple ways of exiting your home in case of a fire.

Nobody wants to find themselves in an emergency situation, but knowing your children are prepared for one, can help put your mind at ease. You’ve got this!

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