The tragic deaths of a woman and four children in an Oklahoma City house fire early Wednesday is prompting area firefighters to remind residents to check their smoke detectors and install a detector if they don't have one.
Oklahoma City firefighters worked the scene of the predawn blaze that killed the five people and injured another. While cause of the blaze wasn't immediately known, firefighters said the home did not have working smoke detectors.
Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said such tragedies can provide education for others.
"To lose five people in a house fire is a tragedy and it is something that could have been prevented by having a smoke detector," Williams said.
Firefighters are reminding residents to check their smoke detectors and replace the batteries often, Williams said, and never "borrow" a smoke detector battery for another use, even temporarily.
Shawnee Fire Department Battalion Chief Andy Starkey suggests changing the batteries in smoke detectors at least twice a year, with a good time to remember doing that around the time changes in the spring and fall.
"And check it once a month by pressing the test button," Starkey said.
Williams also stressed the importance of families practicing home fire escape drills just as they would while at school or home.
For those who need a smoke detector in their home, area fire departments can provide free smoke detectors to residents in need and firefighters also will install them.
"All it takes is a phone call," Williams said.
In Shawnee, those who can't purchase a detector can call the department and fire crews will provide one and install it.
If residents purchase a detector and need help installing it, Shawnee firefighters also will respond to the home and install it free of charge.
Area fire departments that provide such programs are always in need of more smoke detectors for the program, or could use monetary donations to purchase more smoke alarms for the program.
In Tecumseh, residents should call 598-2222 or 598-4303.
In Shawnee, residents should call 878-1671.