Smoke Detectors Save Lives

1 decade 7 months 1 week ago Tuesday, October 16 2007 Oct 16, 2007 Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:53:24 AM CDT October 16, 2007 in News

Preventing fires is far from an open-and-shut case. Firefighters do more than spray water. Just ask Gene Robertson, Rocky Mount's Fire Marshal.

After Nick and Shirley Pitzer died in a house fire, Robertson decided to prepare citizens for their own possible fire emergencies. So he looked for help, and got it from the Osage Beach Lowe's.

It donated 100 smoke detectors to Rocky Mount. But not everything went as planned. Since the program began in August, Robertson has only given away four detectors. He says it might be time for more drastic measures.

"A door-to-door blitz might be it. Just taking myself and some other firefighters and going door-to-door might be about the only thing we can do, getting all the information we can from the counties," said Robertson.

Lowe's was equally baffled by the response.

"Wow! Yeah, that would surprise me. Especially something everyone needs in their home; there's no reason not to have it," exclaimed Lowe's Manager Brandon Garber.

But a smoke alarm does not guarantee safety. Neighbors in Lake Ozark say they saw detectors in the Pitzers' home.

Even if you have an alarm, Robertson says you should make sure your fireplace is clean, your cigarette butts are out, and nothing flammable is near gas.

Robertson said the Pitzers' home was burnt too badly to know if the smoke detectors worked.

The smoke detector program serves citizens living in a 56-square mile radius around Rocky Mount. Priority is given to the elderly and disabled. Robertson advises residents to change the batteries in their alarms once a month.

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