Tragedy Brings to Light the Importance of a Smoke Detector - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/6/02

Tragedy Brings to Light the Importance of a Smoke Detector

The pictures are disturbing. A trail of blood around the side of a house, Christmas presents under a burnt tree, a frantically broken window in a room with a child's crib. The aftermath of a fire that devastated a young couple with an infant daughter.

Reynaldo and Linda Rosas were awoken at 5 a.m. by the cries of 7-month-old Clarise-Aried. When they went to check on her they found the living room engulfed in flames. The fire started from some loose paper and plastic left on top of a floor furnace.

Cruz Orosco, father of Linda says "She broke through the window with a barbell, then peeled away additional shards of glass with her bare hands." On the way out she sustains a cut to her abdomen that requires surgery. Reynaldo's injuries, even more serious, burned over 30% of his body, listed in critical condition at UMC's Burn Unit.

What's worse say fire officials is that the injuries could have been prevented with a single smoke detector. "This is one of those situations that was a tragedy that could have been averted," said Deputy Fire Marshall Garett Nelson.

A survey of Texas communities shows that more than half of all fires occur in homes that either have no smoke detector, or one that isn't working. Every year, 5,000 Americans die in fires, and 25,000 are injured. Of those thousands..."90% would not die and not be hurt if they had something as simple as a smoke detector, a $5 smoke detector," says Nelson,

Extremely affordable, needing only one battery change a year. It's a simple precaution that's often only appreciated after the fact. "There are many of us across the nation who make the same type of mistake," said Nelson

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