Smoke alarms for Seneca Co. families after fatal fire - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Smoke alarms for Seneca Co. families after fatal fire

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SENECA COUNTY, Ohio – It has been almost two weeks since a fire killed a family of five inside their rural Reed Township home.

Area firefighters and school district leaders are hoping to turn the horrible tragedy into a positive legacy.

Community leaders are hoping to raise enough money to give a new smoke alarm to every single elementary school family.

The goal is to educate kids and make sure they have properly working equipment in their homes to prevent another tragedy like this for generations.

Smoke detectors save lives.

The precaution is now taking on greater importance as fears grow at Seneca East Elementary School after three students there died in a house fire at the end of November.

"Our sixth grade students are old enough to get that this is really a concern," says Brad Powers, principal of Seneca East Elementary. "It's a tragedy that could affect their own family."

Investigators say smoking or electric space heaters could've started the fire that destroyed the old farmhouse in Reed Township killing Joseph Hamilton and his wife Holly, as well as 6-year-old Linkin, 8-year-old Jaxon, and 11-year-old Olivia.

Investigators determined that battery operated smoke detectors were inside the home, but it is not known if they were working at the time of the fire.

"It's still a very difficult time," says Powers.

He says last week fire officials held a special fire safety training class for Olivia's 6th grade class.

"It all starts with prevention and I think that will go a long way in helping our sixth graders and their fears," says Powers.

Plus, community leaders are asking for donations so they can buy brand new smoke detectors for all 366 elementary school families.

Firefighters with several different volunteer departments here in this area including Scipio-Republic are willing to individually go into the homes of families, help install those smoke detectors, and help those families come up with escape plans.

"We're hoping that this actually establishes a legacy for our community in regards to what can we do to prevent these tragedies from happening to any of us," says Powers.

Powers says even the adults are learning. Fire officials told the 6th graders that the life expectancy of a smoke detector is ten years at most.

If you'd like to make a donation, mail or drop off a check made out to the "Seneca East Homes for Families Fund" to one of several locations:

Seneca East Local Schools, 13343 U.S. 224, Attica, OH

Republic Banking Company in Republic, OH

Sutton Bank in Attica, OH

 

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