Community Issues

Erie Fire Tragedy Highlights Smoke Detector Need

5 children are dead following a fire at a home daycare. Firefighters say there was something missing from the first two floors of the house.

The tragic fire that killed five young children over the weekend in Erie, PA is a wake-up call for parents everywhere. Two teenagers had to escape by going out a second floor window and screaming for help from the porch rooftop. Neighbors helped them get down to safety, but five children were still inside.

(Video and featured image above: Facebook/ErieNewsNow)

The owner of the home was seriously injured and is now hospitalized at a burn unit in Pittsburgh. She was running a licensed, home-based overnight daycare for children whose parents worked overnight.

While the specific cause has not officially been determined as of this posting, fire inspectors have said that there was only one working smoke detector in the three story home and that device was in the attic. Firefighters say the outcome could have been much different if there were smoke detectors throughout the house.

7 people die every day in the U.S. by fire. Most could have been prevented with smoke detectors. - American Red Cross

In April of this year a smoke alarm installed by the American Red Cross helped save a woman named Jackie. Here's her story:

(Source: American Red Cross / YouTube)

In times of unfortunate tragedy like this we're reminded that there are options, even cheap ones. You can spend as much as $119 for a fancy smoke detector like the ones from Nest that connect to apps on your smart phones and to smart home systems. You can also spend as little as $5 for simple 9 volt battery powered smoke detectors. Most of these are available at home improvement stores, chain drug stores, and places like Walmart and Target.

For some people even that five dollar price tag is too much. That's why many local fire departments hand them out. Check with yours for more information. There are also organizations like the American Red Cross that step in to help.

American Red Cross

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