Ayers: Lack of smoke detectors 'frustrating'
WEST PHILADELPHIA - April 16, 2012 (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers tells Action News fires have killed 14 people this year. 90-percent of the households involved didn't have working smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms may not prevent the damage to the home, but they will allow those inside time to escape the smoke and flames.
Cries could be heard and agony felt as yet another fatal fire struck the city, today it happened on Chancellor Street.
Yesterday, it happened on Firth Street.
Six dead in total.
One common thread in both was there were no working smoke alarms.
"Frustrating. You could see it on the firefighters' faces. They looked high and low trying to find a smoke alarm, just remnants of a smoke alarm, [but found] no smoke alarms," Commissioner Ayers said.
RELATED: Operation 6abc: Save a Life
Commissioner Ayers has been at the forefront of a campaign to urge residents to get smoke alarms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a working smoke alarm reduces risk of death by residential fire by 50%.
Still, only about 3/4 of US households report having one that functions.
RELATED: Fire Safety Checklist
"It's frustrating to know that you have this percentage of the citizens that's not getting the message or not listening to the message," Ayers said.
Josh Keenan got the message and it saved his life.
A fire broke out last night at Johnnie Barrel's restaurant. Upstairs, Keenan and three roommates were asleep in their apartment.
"My mom was actually on my back about the smoke detector not working, so last week I went and bought one and put it up and that's actually what woke up my roommate," Keenan said.
It's also important to have an escape route.
If possible, replace alkaline batteries with 10-year lithium batteries and check your alarms once a year.
Joyce Richmond does and she just wishes her neighbors on Chancellor had also followed the fire department's advice.
"I lost a good friend over there, a long time family member, I'm definitely going to make sure my smoke detectors work," Richmond said.
A vigil for today's fire victims will be held tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. at the scene of the tragedy.
LINK: Freedom From Fire
philadelphia, fire, west philadelphia, children, north philadelphia, local/state, chad pradelli
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