FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Members of the Fort Wayne Fire Department were out knocking on doors in the Dupont Estates neighborhood Thursday morning offering free smoke detectors to anyone who needed them.
They’d even come in and install them if a resident so wished.
Assistant Chief Jim Murua said they often do this in areas where a large amounts of fires are happening. In the Dupont Estates neighborhood, there’ve been two recent fires that were just days apart, including one on Grassy Lane that claimed the lives of four children.
“It’s always horrible that it takes a tragedy to make people aware of what’s going on in the community,” Murua said. “We’ve had this program for 20 years where we’ve been giving away smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for free, and we will come out and install those.”
A spokesman for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department recently told WANE 15 that there’s no way to know if there were smoke detectors and if they were working or not in the mobile home that caught fire on Grassy Lane due to the extensive damage the fire caused.
The smoke detectors handed out Thursday were made available by Indiana Homeland Security. Director of Public Affairs David Hosick told WANE 15 they had 300 available smoke detectors they hoped to hand out on Thursday.
Indiana Homeland Security will soon be replenishing FWFD with more smoke detectors.
“We want to be involved any time that a fire department such as Fort Wayne needs additional alarms, especially in this area in light of what’s happened recently. We want to make sure people are covered with not only the equipment they need and the alarms that they need, but also the education,” Hosick said.
Along the firefighters’ routes, they left notes on the doors of homes where no one answered that gives them information on how to get free smoke detectors from the department.
They also found homes where there were no working smoke detectors. One such resident who had that issue is Amy Goodman.
Goodman said she worked as a 911dispatcher for 20 years and should’ve known better to not have working smoke detectors in her home, but is now going to remedy that.
“I’ve taken the calls from people who’s houses have been on fire, and it’s something nobody really should ever experience. I feel so horribly for the family that lost their little angels, and hopefully we don’t have to go through this anymore,” Goodman said. “It’s great that they’re going around and providing it for people that don’t have the money to get it themselves or they don’t realize the importance.”
Another resident, Alisha Meyer, didn’t need smoke detectors from the fire department. She said that’s because she went out and bought new smoke detectors last week after the recent fires in the neighborhood.
Meyer said her son has special needs and she wanted to give herself the best chance to get him out safely in the event of an emergency.
“The fact that there’s been two fires in this neighborhood is just a complete wake up call,” Meyer said.
Anyone who is interested in the Fort Wayne Fire Department’s free smoke detector program can learn more information here.