A Nashville man and his 4-year-old daughter died early Thursday in an East Nashville apartment fire, and investigators could not find any evidence of smoke alarms inside their home, reports The Tennessean.
The fire began about 2 a.m. in the kitchen of the family’s rental unit in the 200 block of Foster Street, said Brian Haas, Nashville Fire Department spokesman. The initial reports said children were trapped inside the triplex, he said.
Heavy smoke and flames were coming from the back of the building when firefighters arrived on scene. They rescued two children and had the fire under control in about 15-20 minutes, Haas said.
Firefighters found the bodies of the man and his daughter inside the small apartment. They were tentatively identified by Metro police in a news release as Stefan Lavender, 34, and Stephine Lavender, 4. Police said the Medical Examiner’s Office will officially confirm their identities.
The father and daughter are the second and third people to die in fires in Nashville this year, Haas said. In 2014 fires claimed six lives, he added.
“We don’t get fire deaths all that often, and it’s a tragedy when it happens,” Haas said. “Across the state over the last couple of years, fire deaths have been dropping, and it’s been largely attributed to greater awareness of smoke alarms.”
While a smoke alarm was going off in a nearby unit in the triplex, firefighters and investigators were unable to find any evidence of smoke alarms in the apartment that burned, Haas said. At least one family member indicated there were not any smoke alarms.
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