Firefighters help northside initiative, go door-to-door with smoke detectors

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Firefighters are trying to prevent more people from dying in Springfield house fires. That is why they went door-to-door Saturday in one northside neighborhood installing smoke alarms for free.

“I haven’t had a fire alarm or even a fire extinguisher in the six and a half years I’ve been living here,” Charlie Yeye said.

Saturday Springfield firefighters solved a problem Charlie Yeye has known he has for years.

“I knew we didn’t have one,” Yeye said. “We’ve always discussed about having one and we just kinda never purchased one.”

Firefighters picked the area around Yeye’s house to canvas Saturday because of a map which shows how many fires in houses and businesses there have been in Springfield from 2011 to last year. (KSPR News has attached the map to this story for you to see for yourself.) Most of the fires are in North Springfield and Grant Beach.

“They’re the most frequent areas for structure fires in Springfield,” Springfield Fire Battalion Chief, Brian Athen said.

Not everyone accepted firefighters’ help. But for those who did, firefighters may have just saved their lives.

They found old alarms and others not being used correctly.

Yeye cannot be happier with his good fortune.

“We feel really good that now we feel safer in our own home. Our neighbors can be safer. I will recommend them to get one,” Yeye said. “We want to say thank (you) to the Springfield Fire Department for offering and helping us out to be safer.”

Project Red Zone is paid for by grant money and donations from the American Red Cross.

In the last three months, firefighters said they have gone to 2,500 houses, checked 900 smoke alarms to make sure there are working, and installed more than 600 new smoke alarms.

If you need a new smoke alarm and live in Springfield, you can contact Springfield firefighters by calling 417-864-1515. KSPR News has also included the link where you can read more information about this project. That is on the side of this page.
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Springfield firefighters hope to keep you safe by giving you the tools you need to warn you of a fire.

Figures compiled by the Springfield Fire Department show most of the fires in the city since 2011 have occurred on the northside. On Saturday, firefighters went to work on a new initiative to keep people safe in that area.

In the Grant Beach neighborhood, firefighters went door to door with free smoke detectors.

By the end of the day Saturday, firefighters expect hope every home in the Grant Beach neighborhood will have a smoke alarm.

While some people didn’t allowing for firefighters to install the detectors, many people accepted the free help.

Springfield Fire Battalion Chief Brian Athen said firefighters have gone to 2,500 houses, checked 900 smoke alarms to make sure there are working and installed more than 600 new smoke alarms in the last three months.

After completing the Grant Beach neighborhood, he said firefighters will target northeast Springfield.

"It's kinda heartbreaking as a fire fighter to know that something could've been done to save a life and it wasn't. If they had a working smoke detector, maybe it would have. We don't want any deaths from fires in Springfield, he said.

The last numbers the fire department has are from last year, when five people died in Springfield In house fires. We do not yet know how many had working smoke detectors.

Athen hopes new smoke alarms will save lives. Some of the fire alarms replaced were well past their useful lives.

Athen said Springfield firefighters are using a grant and donations from the American Red Cross to pay for the free smoke alarms.