HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Fire can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. It can destroy property and claim lives in a matter of minutes. Now, efforts are being stepped-up to prevent tragedy in a neighborhood already dealing with heartache. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller shows us how.
The holes being drilled Thursday into the ceiling of the Simon family home on South Regent Street were for a potentially life-saving purpose. The house got a couple of older smoke detectors replaced with brand new ones through the American Red Cross program “Sound The Alarm”.
The installation upstairs and downstairs equips the house with lithium battery-powered alarms that should last for ten years. They’ll help warn Pat Simon if smoke and flames should ever start. When asked if the thought of fire ever enters her mind she replied “All the time. All the time.”
Tragedy is fresh on her mind less than two weeks after a deadly house fire a block away on Little Street. “It was sad. It was sad to see those poor people come out,” said Mrs. Simon.
Investigators are uncertain if any working smoke detectors were inside the home where three lives were lost. Hanover Township Fire Chief Joe Temarantz said, “We’re still trying to heal from it and it’s going to be a long time for the family to heal from it.”
Canvassing the neighborhood, Red Cross volunteers went door to door asking residents if they needed a new smoke detector. American Red Cross Communications Director Dave Skutnik explained, “It really is frightening the number of homes we go into that have no working smoke alarms.”
More than just smoke detectors were given away. Red Cross volunteers handed out information intended to prevent another fire tragedy. Information like helping families develop a fire escape plan that starts with a round little device installed on walls and ceilings. Mr. Skutnik said, “It cuts the risk of dying in a home fire in half to have that working smoke alarm.” Chief Temerantz added, “When it goes off, get out of the house. When you’re cooking and the alarm goes off if you take it out please put it back.” And give yourself some peace of mind and perhaps avoid a tragedy.
The Red Cross was armed with 137 smoke detectors. Volunteers installed 48 of the devices in 35 homes in Hanover Township.