Close before you doze: Mulvane family shares the difference closed doors can make during a fire


MULVANE, Kan. (KSNW) – A Mulvane family wants people to know how closing doors during a fire can actually save a life.

This is what’s left of Nicole Elam’s home after a fire ripped through it almost a week ago.

“That was home, that was everything we had,” said Nicole Elam.

Looking at the extent of the damage, she’s thankful her family of five was not home when the fire broke out.

“God was watching over us,” said Elam.

The fire that broke out last Wednesday gutted most of the home leaving significant heat and smoke damage in several rooms. But her 12-year-old son’s room was left almost intact.

“And you can still tell the color of his walls verses. you can’t even tell what color our walls are or our little girls walls are.,”

That’s because her son’s bedroom door was closed while the doors to the other two rooms on the fire floor were left open. Fire officials said her son’s room was also the closest room to where the fire started in the living room.

“The difference is just completely, it’s phenomenal,” said Elam.

Fire officials said it’s a reminder that a closed door can stop the spread of fire, reduce the heat’s intensity, and keep carbon monoxide levels down.

“With the conditions that were in that room, if somebody would have been trapped in that room the survivor ability for them would have been very high verses the other two rooms that didn’t have the door closed,” said Lt. Jason Mundell, Mulvane Fire Rescue.

After their experience, the family said they are making closed doors part of their routine and hopes others will too.

“When we do get our home again, I won’t leave with the door open, I won’t sleep with the door open,” said Elam.

Mulvane Fire Rescue shared the pictures of the interior rooms on its Facebook page to shed light on the Close Before You Doze campaign.

To learn more about the Close Your Door safety initiative click here.

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