It's been three weeks since an 8-year-old Tahoka girl died in a devastating house fire.
Fire officials in Tahoka say the home had no smoke detectors. With help from the community, the Tahoka Fire Department is working to make sure a tragedy like this does not happen again. The department is handing out hundreds of free smoke detectors to residents who might not otherwise have them.
A tiny memorial in the front yard is all that remains of the Duran home on South Second Street. Back in the early hours of Nov. 18, flames ripped the home apart and took the life of 8-year-old Laela Duran. Tahoka Fire Chief Steve Sanders says the loss for his community has been unimaginable.
"It's really hard to put into words, but it's almost paralyzing," Sanders said.
Sanders says the home did not have a fire detector, so he's made it his mission to put smoke detectors in as many Tahoka homes as he can. His department is giving out free smoke detectors to anyone who needs them. All residents have to do is go by the Tahoka City Hall and pick them up.
"If they have a water meter in the city they can receive it. If they need assistance in putting it up, then they leave a note and then the firemen will come and put (the fire detector) up," Sanders said.
The Tahoka Fire Department is coordinating the effort, but the First National Bank of Tahoka, along with a generous family named Hegi are funding the project. Bank President John Krey says it's the least they can do.
"It's just a small, close knit community, so all these things really hit us hard," Krey said. "It really hits hard in a small community. Everybody knows everybody. It's just something that we thought we would be able to do to give back to the community, to maybe prevent some of this in the future."
Both men are working to prevent tragedies like what happened at the Duran home, but when disaster strikes, they know their community will step up and give back.
"To watch the community respond in love and everybody wants to do something and sometimes you don't know what to do, because there's nothing you can do that will ever be enough," Sanders said.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11