OK Fire Officials Stress Importance Of Working Fire Detectors

Wednesday, December 26th 2012, 9:55 pm
By: News 9

By Evan Anderson, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fire officials say they can't stress enough how important it is to have working fire detectors in your home. Investigators say no smoke detectors were found in the family's home Wednesday morning, and the lives of five people could have been saved.

"It's been a while since we've had a fire where we have had this many people involved," said Maj. Kevin Barry with the OKC Fire Dept.

Berry shows a wall of fire alarms at the OKC Fire Prevention office that has literally saved the lives of dozens of people across the city. 

"These are smoke alarms that were actually in residential fires," said Berry. "These smoke alarms alerted the residents to the presence of fire, and these people got out of the home."

He says one alarm saved a family of 10 in March 2009.

12/26/2012 Related Story: OKC Police Identify Children, Mother Who Died In Accidental Fire

"Smoke alarms, although melted, although under heavy distress, are still working, and so smoke alarms work. They save lives," said Berry.

On Wednesday morning, it was a much different situation. Even though fire officials have ruled the devastating fire as an accident, they say it could have been avoided if there was a working fire alarm present in the home. 

"They were really good little kids, really nice little kids," said an emotional friend of the family. "They were real great, real happy."

Seven people were inside when the fire broke out, including 28-year-old Jeanie Bonnet and her four young children.

"Any loss of life for us in Oklahoma City is one too many," said Berry. "We want to avoid these kinds of things."

Now a father is preparing to bury his entire family. 

"He's going to have to bury four babies, and like I said, he has no insurance, no money," said the family friend.

Fire investigators say the family was sleeping upstairs using a space heater and their fire place to heat the home.

If you need a smoke alarm in your home, all you have to do is call a fire station, and you'll get one for free. Even if you're not sure about placement of your existing fire alarms, or if they work, OKC fire officials say they will come out to your home and do an inspection.