Firefighters Urge Everyone to Have a Smoke Detector at Home

By: David Coy Email
By: David Coy Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY -- Firefighters are making the push to make sure you get a smoke detector in your home after a fire Sunday night.

The Rockingham County Fire Chief Jeremey Holloway said one person died from the fire.

Rockingham County firefighters said the fire started around 9:30 p.m. Sunday because of a lit candle left alone.

Investigators say, while interviewing neighbors, it was noted that no one heard a smoke detector sounding in the apartment and the investigation did not reveal if there were any smoke detectors present.

"You are the answer to being safe with fire. It starts and ends with you," said Harrisonburg Deputy Fire Marshal Captain Arthur Miller.

He said you should always have a smoke alarm in your home. He recommends testing it once a month.

"They are in no way shape or form going to prevent a fire. Only human nature and human interaction will prevent a fire. But a smoke alarm increases your chances of escaping a fire and living through that event," said Miller.

Firefighters are encouraging all families to have an escape plan at home.

"Most people don't really think about this. They think, 'if I have a fire I know what I am supposed to do.' But when you're faced with a fire or heavy smoke, those kinds of things coming at you panic and you don't do the right thing," said Rockingham County Public Information Officer Lt. Karen Will.

Both Harrisonburg and Rockingham County offer free programs for people who don't have smoke alarms.

"We urge people if you don't have a smoke alarm and you are rental property contact the fire department and we will assist you and we will open up a dialogue with your land lord to make sure you have a smoke alarm," said Miller.

Lt. Will said remember one simple rule when you hear a smoke alarm.

"When the alarm sounds, get your family and get out. Don't stop and pick up family belonging in the home. Don't call 9-1-1 from inside the home. Get out with your family immediately," said Will.

Landlords say the the tenant signed an agreement saying there was a working smoke alarm when she moved in.

If you don't have a smoke alarm in your house you can contact your local fire department, they will get you one.

If you live in Rockingham County, the fire & rescue number is 540-564-3175.

If you live in Harrisonburg, the fire department's number is 540-432-7703.

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