Smoke Detectors From Tulsa Fire Department Save Lives

Monday, June 11th 2012, 5:29 pm
By: Craig Day

Looking at the damage from a fire at her friends' house, Jennifer Cleghorn says it breaks her heart.

Last Thursday, at about 4:30 a.m., someone intentionally set the front porch on fire at the house on Rockford.

Two people were inside.

"He fell down and the roof collapsed in on top of him, and he just kind of rolled up out of there," Cleghorn said.

The fire victims survived thanks to early warning from a smoke detector that firefighters actually installed in the house.

"They credit it with saving their lives," Captain Stan May of the Tulsa Fire Department said. "That's how they discovered there was a fire on the front part of their house. It probably saved both of their lives, because they are both disabled. They don't move very quickly at all."

The Tulsa Fire Department has a program, started in 2004, where people can ask firefighters to check batteries and make sure detectors are working right. They can even ask firefighters to install a new one for free.

Cleghorn had firefighters put one in her house a few years ago.

"I think the firefighters are wonderful in this neighborhood," Cleghorn said.

When someone requests a detector, the closest fire station sets up a time to come install it. They install about five thousand each year.

Most are provided through donations from the Firefighters Union and local businesses.

"As we can get those donations to come up, we can supply more and more," Captain May said. "They can call the fire department headquarters. If they don't have one, we want to try to make sure we get them one."

In this fire, the early warning made all the difference. Without the detector, it's likely no one would have survived.