Fresno senior citizens learn about fire safety

FRESNO, Calif.

The fire, which broke out at a senior citizen's village in Southeast Fresno, claimed a man's life last month. Others in the four-plex escaped, but neighbors remain shaken up.

"Very concerned because we're so compact as a unit in where we live," neighbor Joseph Romero said.

Residents packed the senior citizen village hall on Tuesday to hear a sobering message from Interim Fresno City Fire Chief Mike Despain.

"Those people over 65 years old, you are probably the most vulnerable," Chief Despain said.

The life-saving message of fire safety was heard loud and clear. Project FIRRE stands for "firefighter intervention to reduce risk to the elderly".

Many left the meeting to check their smoke alarms and make sure their outlets weren't overloaded.

"We go in and find them overloaded and they're just regular extension cords. They're not the kind with power strips. I think they should all have power strips. They're safer. When I leave my house the power strip goes off," Pat Martin of Fresno said.

Martin works in the village office and often takes calls from residents who forgot to turn off the stove.

"The other issue is when they're cooking they're not watching their food or they have loose-fitting clothing that gets into the fire," Chief Despain said.

Chief Despain says families can help elders remove clutter from their homes.

To keep residents safe, firefighters will soon go door to door at the senior citizen village to check smoke alarms and inspect homes for possible hazards.

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