Oprah's "Big Give" ... Gives to the Valley

March 11, 2008 5:20:18 PM PDT
abc30 teamed up with Oprah Winfrey in hopes of saving lives here in the Valley.We presented a ten thousand dollar check to the Fresno County Fire Department's Early Detection Program. The program was inspired by the tragic death of two Calwa girls in a house fire and now, their mother is working to make sure no home is left without a smoke detector.

Sylvia Escalante has become a crusader for fire safety in the year since her two daughters died. She has teamed up with firefighters to install more than 11 hundred smoke detectors in Fresno County homes. Now, they're asking for your help to reach thousands more.

Sylvia Escalante says this is her way of giving back to a community that supported her following the tragic death of her two daughters.

Ruvi and Anna died when their Calwa home caught fire in February of 2007. There were no working smoke detectors.

Since then, she and Fresno County Firefighters have already hit several rural areas in the county to install smoke detectors and now, she's ready to install even more after a surprise from Oprah.

"Oh wow! That's amazing. That's amazing. Oh wow. That's going to help a lot of people."

Monday abc30's Angelo Stalis gave the Fresno County Fire Department a ten thousand dollar check. Firefighters say the money will buy three thousand more smoke detectors.

Chief Keith Larkin, Fresno County Fire Dept.: "We really don't want anyone to have a fire in their home, but ultimately if you're going have one to get out safely and get your family out is key."

Monday's donation was made possible by Oprah's "The Big Give" where people compete while helping others.

It's a show Oprah describes as inspirational.

"Inspirational in a way that makes you think, hmm. I wonder if I could have done that. I wonder what I can do? That's what it is about."

Fresno County Firefighters say there is something you can do to help as they prepare for their biggest installation event yet.

"In one day we're going to contact 5000 homes. We can do it. We can do it!"

They need volunteers to go door to door in four Fresno County Communities on April 19th and they need more money in order to hit a total of nine thousand homes identified as needing smoke detectors.

Sylvia says she's dedicated to finishing the task along with some help from above.

"I just thank my girls for it. There are two angels that brought this to help a lot of people."

If you would like to volunteer on April 19th, or you would like to donate to the Early Detection Program, you can contact the Fresno County Fire Department at 210 South Academy, Sanger, California, 93657.

The phone number is 485-7500 Ext: 124

For more information click the link: Oprah's Big Give


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