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Chief Jason Moore
Bloomington Fire Department
moorja@bloomington.in.gov
812-349-3891
 

Bloomington Fire Department Launches “Close Before You Doze” Campaign


Bloomington, Ind. - The Park Doral apartment building fire that occurred over Indiana University graduation weekend spread rapidly in large part because of doors left open, according to Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) Chief Jason Moore. Although the department’s firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within 14 minutes of the initial 911 call and there were no fatalities, the extent of personal injuries and damage to property could have been minimized had more doors been closed within the building. The event has prompted BFD to launch a local awareness-raising campaign called “Close Before You Doze.”

“What could have been a tragedy for the Park Doral occupants and their loved ones was averted thanks to the high level of responsiveness and competence shown by the Bloomington Fire Department,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “We are grateful to our firefighters for their skill, their valor, and their promotion of educational efforts like this one to keep us all safer.”  

After it started in a kitchen in the building at 2679 East 7th Street on May 4, the fire traveled up a staircase, into hallways, and into other apartments, trapping occupants inside.  Three civilians were rescued by firefighters, and seven people jumped from their balconies to escape the fire. One of those who jumped to safety was treated on scene for an arm injury and two others were evaluated for smoke inhalation.    

The two apartments at Park Doral that suffered significant fire damage were those where doors had been left open, providing a passageway for the rapid progression of the fire. Apartments where doors had been closed experienced only minor smoke damage.

Closed doors slow the spread of fire by cutting off its oxygen supply and decreasing the levels of heat and carbon monoxide that would otherwise build up, providing trapped occupants more time to react and escape. In light of the fact that contemporary construction materials and design have already abbreviated the length of time available to escape a burning home, every additional moment is critical.   

The Park Doral fire provides a vivid reminder of the importance of closing doors when you sleep, when exiting a burning structure, or if trapped by a fire. “Close Before You Doze” is a slogan to encourage every family to make sure they close all of their doors – bedrooms, bathrooms, basement – at night. Parents are urged to keep children’s bedroom doors closed at night, and to install a baby monitor to stay in touch with young children while they sleep. In the case of fire, the closed door will provide a safety barrier from smoke and fire in adjacent areas, giving the child more time to survive.

Additionally, parents are urged to install and maintain a smoke alarm inside every bedroom and outside the sleeping area, on every level of the home. Families should have an escape plan, identify multiple escape routes from every room, and practice them as a family at various hours.

“The simple act of closing your door could be the difference between your living or dying in the event of a fire in your home,” said Indiana-based fire chief John Shafer, who has led training on the closed door initiative across North America. “It could also be the difference between your entire home being destroyed or the fire being contained to one room.”

The Bloomington Fire Department reminds residents to “Close Before You Doze.”  It could save a life.
 

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