LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Do Your Smoke Detectors Work?

As you should all be aware this is the time of year where we observe FIRE PREVENTION week and I can find no better reminder to urge everyone to ensure that we all double check that we have working smoke detectors in our homes.

The Sunday March 22nd New York daily news had a headline that read “Mommy, Help me”!!!! Horrifying screams as 7 kids die….

The New York Fire Department responded to an early morning alarm at 12:23AM on Saturday March 21st. As neighbors arrived on scene they could hear the screams – Mommy, Help me!!!!

After the fire was extinguished Mayor Bill DeBlasio and FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro stated that firefighters from Engine 255 and Ladder 157 quickly arrived on scene at 3371 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn in just 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Upon getting on scene were met with extreme fire conditions making it impossible to rescue the 7 children who perished.

A somber Fire Commissioner Nigro, speaking at the scene said “it’s a tragedy for this family, it’s a tragedy for this community and it’s a tragedy for our city”. Further reports in that Sunday paper stated that the Dad was “devastated” as Mom and daughter, who escaped with smoke inhalation and burns fight for their lives….

Investigators found a smoke detector in the basement of the home at 3371 Bedford Avenue, near Avenue L, but had not found any on the first floor, where the fire started, or the second, where the family slept. They were still searching the debris.

“We believe there were none,” Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said. “That’s always a tragedy in itself.”

Please take the time to be sure you have working smoke detectors near sleeping quarters. If you have an elderly neighbor nearby and can assist them, please do.

A stark reminder that having a working smoke alarm is truly a life or death matter.

Respectfully yours,
Randy Kalce, Fire Chief of the Mahanoy City Fire Department
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