One year ago Tuesday, three children, all under the age of four, died in a house fire in El Reno. News 9 went to El Reno where the fire department considers installing smoke detectors their personal challenge.
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Since that terrible tragedy a year ago, El Reno firefighters have installed smoke detectors in several hundred homes all over town.
It took firefighters four minutes to get to James and KeYanna Redbird's home last January 1. But when it comes to smoke, not fire, just smoke inhalation, it can kill quicker than that. And it did.
"We are in total devastation right now. You can only imagine what it's like to lose three of your four children," said James Redbird the next day.
For homeowners, El Reno Fire gladly will install smoke detectors for free. State law mandates it's the landlord's responsibility to provide smoke detectors for tenants.
"All they really got to do is call the fire station. We'll get a name, an address, a telephone number, and we'll schedule it in and we'll install the smoke detectors for ‘em," said El Reno Assistant Fire Chief Jason Duff.
But you have to remember to change the battery twice a year.
You know they make smoke detectors now with a battery life of ten years, you don't have to do anything. Costs 20 bucks.
Assistant Fire Chief Duff says people should be very careful with the placement of space heaters as well.
"It should be a minimum of three feet all around the heater. You don't want clothes or blankets or anything like that furniture closer than three feet, and preferably more," said Duff.
The fire marshal’s office is expected to issue a final report on the Redbird family after the first of the year.