Red Cross volunteers install hundreds of smoke alarms inside Fresno homes

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A house fire killed a person in central Fresno in February and another house fired killed a resident in southeast Fresno in July. (KFSN)

Hundreds of Fresno homes are safer Saturday in the case of an emergency.

The Red Cross logo conjures up thoughts of disasters and the safety net for people stuck in them. But for one day, Red Cross volunteers are on the other chronological end of a disaster - working to avoid fires before they start.

"The fact is, here in the Central Valley, on a daily basis, we're responding to home fires in this community," Jessica Piffero with the Red Cross explained.

Fresno firefighters battled almost 1,000 house fires in 2016. A house fire killed a person in central Fresno in February and another house fired killed a resident in southeast Fresno in July. It would happen four other times that year, and one detail seems to link each of those six deaths.

"Most of those six fire fatalities could have been prevented with a functioning smoke alarm," Hector Vasquez with the fire department said.

With bags full of prevention and hope, more than 100 volunteers left the Frank H. Ball Community Center and headed door-to-door through southwest Fresno. They offered free smoke detectors for any room in the homes.

They changed batteries in dormant detectors, and they came prepared with information about fire safety.

"It's so important for these families to know you may only have two minutes to get out during a home fire so if we can help educate the family, the parents, the kids, the dogs," Piffero said. "We're going to educate everyone we can about fire safety."

Nationwide, the Red Cross aimed to install 15,000 smoke detectors this weekend. In Fresno alone, volunteers installed about 500.

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red crosshouse firefresnoFresno - Southwest
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