Fire Investigators: Smoke Detectors May Have Saved Children's Lives

Wednesday, November 3rd 2010, 3:57 pm
By: News 9

Gan Matthews, News 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Norman fire investigators said there's a good chance four children might still be alive if their homes had smoke detectors.

Two children, 2-year-old Savry Larkins and 7-year-old Michael Larkins, died Tuesday in a house fire along Cockrel Avenue. Two more children died in an apartment fire in October. Neither dwelling had smoke detectors.

The Norman Fire Department offered free smoke detectors to families that can't afford them, and the Department also supplied free detectors to people who are handicapped. They hoped to save lives by giving away the devices for free.

Fire officials have shared this important message with kids. Every October during Fire Prevention Month, they visit elementary schools in Norman and speak to young children about the importance of having a working smoke detector in the home.

"I would say that the chances of them surviving a fire are extremely higher with a smoke detector as opposed to not having one," Norman Fire Marshal Fred Henderson said.

Kindergarten teacher Ann Rosales said her students responded positively during the presentation. "Four, five, and six year olds are fascinated by firemen. They are their heroes," Rosales said.

Rosales said when firefighters urged the children to ask their parents if they had working smoke detectors in their homes, the kids were more likely to do it.

"The kids can somehow get across to the parents the need and the necessity to make sure there's a working smoke detector in the home," Henderson said.