Fresno fire asks people to check smoke alarms in hopes of saving homes and lives

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno firefighters say many of the homes they've responded to this year have smoke detectors but they were not working.

The moment Fresno firefighters stepped foot on the ground smoke from a home on Peralta Way was piercing through the roof. That home is one of 48 structure fires this year-- four of them have been fatal and firefighters are hoping this video will show people how quick a fire can spread and how smoke detectors can save lives.

Firefighter helmet cam video captured the intense moments of a house fire. The home on Peralta Way where a man inside was trapped and Fresno firefighters did what they have been trained to do. Kicking their way in to navigate through thick smoke and flames in hopes of saving someone's life.

But from the inside looking out firefighters said this fire is like many others they have responded to. The home, now boarded up, did not have working smoke detectors on either floor. "If you're going to have one make sure it works," said Hector Vasquez, Fresno firefighter.

A simple message from Vasquez. He said every home should have one and it should be checked regularly. "We recommend that you change those batteries out every time. Change twice a year and it's honestly going to give you the best form of protection available," said Vasquez.

Neighbors like Chuck Iwrin are taking heed to what happened a few doors down and using it as a reminder to do their part to stay safe. "That's a reminder that things can happen inside your house sometimes, you don't even know it."

And Gary Hill is doing the same because he knows this one little device can make a difference between life and death. "It could save lives because what usually happens in these house fires are people are overcome by the smoke and their dead before the fire has even touched them."

Fresno fire said last year there were 300 structure fires, eight were fatal.

The department is hoping to see a smaller number this year and they said a good way to make that happens is to remind people to, A-- have smoke detectors and B-- make sure they work.
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