Long Island Fire Devastates Family
In the early hours of an October morning, three Long Island children and their mother lost their lives. From a blaze that quickly engulfed the single-story house in Shirley, all that remains are memories, a burned-out structure and questions.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, New Jersey residents have a slightly lower than average risk of dying in a house fire. Fatal residential fires like the one that took the lives of Jennifer McCusker, her 7-year-old son Aiden and 2-year-old twins Brendon and Ava, usually occur at night when residents are asleep and unaware until too late of the danger surrounding them.
According to a report detailing fire fatalities and losses across the United States between 2009 and 2011, leading causes of residential fires include:
- Cooking: While cooking fires are the most common type of fire, they are usually confined and small.
- Careless actions: A greater percentage of large, fatal residential fires are caused by actions like leaving candles and fires burning.
- Electrical problems: Following carelessness, electrical malfunctions or defects are the next leading cause of large house fires.
- Intentional: A certain portion of fatal house fires are purposefully set.
In the Shirley fire, the cause is yet unknown. The fire began in the living room area of the single-level home and spread rapidly to other parts of the home. The intensity of the blaze blew out the windows and radiated searing heat that rendered rescue attempts by neighbors futile.
Ms. McCusker was found cradling one of her twins as she apparently tried to rescue both children from the fire. Her son Aiden was found in his bed with his beloved dog, both dead of smoke inhalation.
Residential fires, especially at night, can be devastating. If injured because of the negligence of others, seek qualified legal counsel in New Jersey.