Red Cross, firefighters install smoke alarms after Urbana fire

A fire at a mobile home near Urbana has led volunteers and firefighters to install smoke detectors at other mobile homes.

The Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross distributed 159 smoke detectors last week. Volunteers were dispatched along with members of the Urbana Fire Department to the Rolling Hills and Harvest Square mobile home parks to install smoke detectors and teach residents about fire safety.

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The installation was in a response to a fire that occurred at Rolling Hills on Jan. 30, which left one woman with critical injuries. It’s unknown whether the mobile home that caught fire had a functioning smoke detector, according to Urbana Fire Chief Mark Keller.

The goal of the event was to get at least two smoke detectors in every mobile home in both parks, Keller said, and to stress the importance of smoke detectors to the public.

“They are very important because they are your only way of knowing that there is a fire, especially if you are asleep.” he said.

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Volunteers installed the detectors and showed residents how to properly do it themselves, emphasizing that a smoke detector should be placed as high up as possible because that’s the direction that smoke and heat travel.

William Napier lives in Harvest Square mobile home park. He already had two smoke detectors installed in his home and said it was important for everyone to do have them.

“If you want to save your butt, you better have one. It can happen to anybody,” Napier said.

According to the Red Cross an average of seven people are killed and another 36 are injured in house fires every day in the United States. Studies have shown that having working smoke alarms in a home increases the chances of survival by 50 percent, the Red Cross said.

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“It will alert you to something going on and have you investigate and hopefully save your life by getting you out of the building,” Keller said.

In the six-county Northern Miami Valley area, the Red Cross installed more than 1,700 free smoke alarms last year in a campaign that they said has saved more than 150 lives.

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