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Mother, two children perish in fire in Yamagata

20 Comments

Police said Tuesday that a mother and her two young children died when their house was destroyed by a fire late Monday night in Nagai City, Yamagata Prefecture.

According to police, the fire broke out in the wooden house, which also served as a store for watches and eyeglasses, just after 10 p.m., TV Asahi reported. The shop is owned by Kenichiro Shirai, 40, who sounded the alarm.

The three victims were on the second floor when the fire broke out, police said. It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the blaze. The three victims were taken to hospital early Tuesday morning but were pronounced dead on arrival. They were identified as Shirai's wife, Asami, 36, their 6-year-old son Kenshin, and 4-year-old daughter Reina, TV Asahi reported.

Police said the family lived with Shirai's parents who managed to escape the blaze.

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20 Comments
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I think its now the law to have smoke detectors? The owner of our house gave me a box of them which I fitted myself and also stuck a label on the main gate door. In the kitchen we also have a gas detector which you can get from your gas supplier.

Its a good idea to have a none water type fire extinguisher in the kitchen, or a fire blanket. And another in the entrance area.

I have survived two major fires, one at home and another when I was an electrical engineer.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Agreed - wooden houses, lack of smoke alarms. Very dangerous. But am I also reading correctly that 3 grown adults managed to escape unscathed and not one of them were able to get the others out? I am assuming there is a good reason for that? Maybe the fire started in the room the victims were sleeping? Maybe a kerosene heater again?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Police said the family lived with Shirai’s parents who managed to escape the blaze

This bothered me too...why not grab the kids on the way out?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Poor mother and her children. RIP.

As for the other family members, we don't know where they were when the fire started. For all we know, they might have tried their best and beyond to get the mother and kids out. We don't know that 'they ran for their lives' instead of getting the rest of the family out. Another scenario might just be that the father was screaming and trying to get up to the second floor but the heat from the blaze was too much. We don't know.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of course we dont know what happened, other then due to the tragedy of a fire ,a mother and her two young children tragicly died. Who knows what efforts were made by all the members of this family to rescue the mother and children. I would think that just as is, in any country and any society all that was humanly possible was done. I would realy feel for this family their neighbours and their friends if they were to read a comment that Japanese citizens will willingly leave family members to their fate in the face of danger.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why a wooden house?

Yes, I agree. Wooden houses are so unique and out-dated. One never sees them outside Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Of course we dont know what happened

Exactly. So criticisms of the survivors are out of line at this time. In all likelihood they are tormenting themselves right now - asking why the children couldn't have escaped instead of them?

whereas in America we tend to hear more stories of bravery or heroism, be it on the part of family members or firemen.

A fireman who enters a burning building without a Scott Air Pak quickly becomes a statistic. Trying to be a hero and save people is fruitless if you're unconscious before you find anyone.

Out of all the people here, Zichi is probably the only one who can criticize (if/when the time comes) as he is a survivor. As part of our navy training in fire fighting, we were placed in a large compartment that then had oil bunkers set on fire and the smoke pumped into the room. The purpose was to give us the experience of trying to navigate a smoke-filled compartment without the aid of an air pack. This was 33 years ago and I still can remember the rising panic as any attempt to inhale even the tiniest amounts of air caused spasms of coughing. When you can't breathe, basic survival instincts override rational thought.

Without knowing the EXACT situation in this house at the time they realized the house was on fire, I refuse to second-guess anything the survivors did or didn't do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just so very very tragic.R,I.P

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I will be moving soon to an older, wood house. Am going to be sure to get smoke and carbon-dioxide detectors!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ namabiru4me

Don't forget fire extinguishers every home should have one. It's the law here in the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very sad news. I find it hard to understand how a father can escape whilst his wife and kids perish. Of course I do not have all the facts, but it would be shocking if he only worried about saving himself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just read this story on a Japanese news site to try to get more detail, and there is something very strange about this whole situation. Here are the facts from the article that I read: The fire apparently started in the watch shop on the first floor. The family of six lived above the watch shop on the second floor of the 260 sq. meter two story building (that's 130 sq meter per floor). The article states that the mother and the two children shared the same bedroom (no info on the where the father slept) The father was the first to notice the fire, and was able to sound the alarm and call 119 to report the fire. The (grandparents, or the father's parents, ages 72 and 73) were able to flee to safety, as well as the father of the 2 kids. It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the blaze. The three victims were taken to hospital early Tuesday morning but were pronounced dead on arrival.

My analysis of the facts:

The article states that the father called the fire dept and said it 'appears' that there is a fire on the first floor. If this is accurate, I think we can safely assume that he wasn't on the first floor (in the watch shop), otherwise there would be more certainty in his wording. Since its only a 2 story building, and the rest of the family was on the second floor at the time of the fire, that puts him and his parents in relatively close proximity to his wife and kids. So why not let the wife and kids know that there's a fire too.

Secondly, he apparently had enough time to sound the alarm (which to me, sounds a bit strange). Why sound the alarm? If it were me, I wouldn't even bother to sound the alarm if I had already called 119, and would have concentrated more on trying to get my family to safety.

What about the grandparents? Did they not even question in their minds where their grand kids were when all this was happening?? Instead of fleeing (in the words of the article) why not attempt to save the kids? I know I would not be able to live with myself unless I knew I gave 200% of my efforts in trying to get others out before fleeing. Also if the mother and two kids were taken to the hospital EARLY TUESDAY MORNING as the article states (at least 2 to 3 hours after the fire broke out) then basically their bodies were recovered AFTER they extinguished the fire. So it wasn't like the mother and kids were pulled out of the fire and died of smoke inhalation; its more likely that they were long gone at the time they were recovered.

Just my opinion, but unless these are the biggest cowards in Japan, I think there may be something more to this. I would have definitely not left that building until I had at least one if not both kids in my arms, or died trying.

I may be wrong, but this sounds like something more than just an accident. Arson maybe?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So why not let the wife and kids know that there's a fire too.

This sounds like this should be in the crime section.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, I agree. Wooden houses are so unique and out-dated. One never sees them outside Japan.

?? Most houses are still built with 100% wooden framing. The only thing NOT wooden is the drywall, and THAT is only going to help if the construction workers hung the drywall properly. (They sure didn't do a good job in my house.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They're building several new houses all around our area here - ALL of which are made of wood...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" terrible...the wooden houses, people escaping by thinking of themselves first, over 2 hours to put out the fire, the lack of smoke alarms, when is this going to stop?"

Only when the J-government gets its head out of its collective butt and starts leading its people into the 21st century.

S

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Poor kids, fires a hot, slow death. Why a wooden house? Nihon, get more updated! I_can I force a country to morderize itself, yes, starting with this comment please

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Horrible way to go, especially for children. No way in my lifetime I would leave the house with my family still inside. Lack of common sense or what? How people here can run for their lives while the rest of their family burns to death is beyond me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

absoultely terrible...the wooden houses, people escaping by thinking of themselves first, over 2 hours to put out the fire, the lack of smoke alarms, when is this going to stop?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Of course we don't know what happened, but more often than not in Japan we hear of these stories where the family members save themselves first whereas in America we tend to hear more stories of bravery or heroism, be it on the part of family members or firemen.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

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