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      Turning tragedy into purpose

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) â?? The Common Voices Coalition partnered with the South Carolina Fire Academy in Columbia to hold a live burn demo Thursday afternoon.

      The purpose of the demo was to show actual room modules with and without fire sprinklers.

      "Seventy percent of fires occur in our homes," said Pam Elliott, a member of the Common Voices Coalition. "It's amazing that we have fire sprinklers everywhere but where we feel the safest, and thatâ??s in our homes."

      Elliot was five years old when her house caught fire after her mother put her down for a nap. By sharing her story through the coalition, she hopes to help prevent future fire tragedies.

      "There is purpose through tragedy, and my purpose now is to be an advocate for fire safety," said Elliot.

      During the demonstration at the fire academy, two rooms went up in flames. In the first demonstration, a smoke detector was used as a sign of warning as the fire grew.

      In the second demonstration, a smoke detector was used in addition to fire sprinklers.

      "Without water sprinklers that room went up in less than five minutes" said Chief Shane Ray, SC State Fire Marshal. "The sprinkler room still had a significant fire, but the sprinkler controlled that fire."

      According to the Common Voices Coalition, 73 people in South Carolina died due to a fire in 2013.