Meet Paul Machado, a firefighter with a compelling story on the devastating effects of home fires



On a blistery cold morning in Fall River, Massachusetts, Firefighter Paul Machado and his crew were tasked with searching for a missing woman inside a two-and-a-half story home on fire. While inside the dwelling, their efforts were exacerbated by the fast-moving blaze, which knocked Machado to the ground.

He attempted to seek safety by heading down to the first floor, but the fire was too intense. Since his radio had melted, calling in a “Mayday” was impossible. His only opportunity for escape was to fling himself from a window. He sustained numerous injuries and burns from the incident. He was sidelined for a year during a painstaking recovery effort. Home fire sprinklers, he says, would have drastically altered the outcome of the fire.

Machado is the newest member of NFPA’s Faces of Fire, a component of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative that underscores the human impact of fire. These personal stories are vastly important, as they showcase the devastation home fire leaves in its wake and tragedies thwarted thanks to sprinklers. They are also powerful tools that can help convince discerning code officials and legislative bodies that sprinkler requirements go beyond being a “cost issue.”

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