After fatal Cleveland fires, NE Ohio Red Cross offers info about free smoke alarms

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - There have been two fatal fires in Cleveland so far this week, and one of the victims was an 8-year-old boy.

Christopher and Linda Peck, ages 30 and 55, respectively, were killed in a fire on the 3400 block of East 49th. Crews were called to that fire Monday just after midnight.

A few hours later, shortly before 6 a.m., firefighters were called to the 2300 block of Searsdale Avenue. Officials said multiple family members were trapped inside, and though a mother and one of her children were able to jump from the second floor and suffer minor injuries, a second child, who was rescued by firefighters from the third floor, eventually died at a nearby hospital.

Firefighters believe the second fire started on the second floor.

Officials said there were no smoke detectors in either home Monday. In the aftermath of the flames, prevention and detection can't be stressed enough.

The best tool is a smoke detector, but if there aren't batteries in it, and it hasn't been tested, it won't help. Gene Ptacek says the testing should be done properly, not by lighting anything -- not even a match, which may not trigger an accurate reading.

They actually sell canned smoke to test smoke detectors. A lot of security companies carry it, as well as other fire protection companies.

A smoke detector can't prevent a fire, but if you're warned by it early, you have options. One is a fire extinguisher. But you want the right kind for a home, get one that says ABC on it. One of the unique properties of the ABC chemical dry extinguishing agent is if you discharge it in the air, it absorbs the heat and reduces the heat in the atmosphere so a person may be able to crawl or walk to safety.

Officials recommend an extinguisher on every floor, particularly in bedrooms. Like batteries in a smoke alarm, maintenance is critical. About 75 percent of the extinguisher has powder in it -- users should occasionally turn it upside down to let the powder fluff inside, to make the chemical fall from the bottom to the top. Then the user will know that if they ever have to use it, the chemical will discharge completely.

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