Fire Department Brings Fire Safety to Ingleside

Saturday, 11 June 2011

By Mary Nash-Wood, Shreveport Times

James Saxton Jr. wishes he had his newly installed smoke detector in his home nine years ago.

The Ingleside resident lost his 16-year-old son, Randy, in a Sunday afternoon house fire in September 2002. There were no smoke detectors in the home at the time of the fire.

Saxton was one of about 500 residents targeted by the Shreveport Fire Department on Saturday to receive free smoke alarms and fire prevention literature as part of the department's fire safety program.

Volunteers including Signal 51, Fire Corps and Shreveport Job Corps along with members of the fire department walked the streets knocking on doors and installing needed smoke alarms as well as inspecting some already in homes.

"I wish I had this then," he said. "It means a lot to get this now. I wish they had been doing this back then."

Launched in 2008 after the department saw eight fire-related deaths, spokesman Fred Sanders said the program has been extremely effective in helping those who need it most.

"We're focusing on older neighborhoods where there tend to be more people using older space heaters or their stoves for heat or other unsafe measures," he said. "We're walking the streets to get out information and to provide an on-the-spot inspection of people's homes so they can find out right there what the dangers may be."

Kameron Wade said he volunteered Saturday morning with Job Corps because he sees how important it is to ensure everyone has the safety of a smoke alarm.

"It may just make the difference in making sure someone is safe," he said. "Most people don't think about their smoke detectors or they think it probably won't happen to them, but this is something that could really help them."

Jazmin Robbins moved to her Ingleside home two days ago and said she had been concerned that there was not a smoke detector installed.
"I have two young kids, and I was a little scared when I noticed that we didn't have any smoke alarms," she said. "We have a gas stove and a gas heater, and you need something like that just in case. I think it's great they're doing this."

For Shreveport residents who may need a smoke alarm or would like to set up a free fire safety consultation, contact the Shreveport Fire Prevention Division at (318) 673-6740.

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