Roanoke Fire Crews Hand Out Smoke Detectors to Families

Roanoke, VA - Firefighters in Roanoke teamed up with dozens of Lowe's employees Friday to deliver smoke detectors and fire extinguishers door-to-door.

Thursday, a newspaper carrier saved a sleeping woman who did not have working detectors.

Fire officials want everyone to know that most victims of fire are people who likely thought it was something that happened to other people. Friday morning, Roanoke fire crews answered a different call when they spread out across all four quadrants of the city with the mission of handing out about $30 worth of life saving equipment to 300 families that otherwise would be without.

Jerry Smith was one of those people. He says he barely makes a living as a woodworker and has no room in his budget for extras even as important as these.

"I saw the fire truck pull up and was wondering what was going on. I am very appreciative of that firefighter coming up here and giving me that," said Smith.

"They think that a fire is not going to happen to them. That they are going to wake up and notice something on fire and that's not necessarily the case," said Tiffany Bradbury with the Roanoke City Fire Department.

The reality is the danger is real for everybody, even in upscale neighborhoods where just the day before, a home caught fire as the elderly resident slept with no working detectors in the home.

"I could see her coming down the steps (thinking), 'What's this guy want" said Mathew "Mick" DeSimone.

By sheer luck, newspaper carrier Mick DeSimone just happened to be making his doormat delivery.

"As I was walking back towards the back of the house where I go I could hear popping' and cracking sound, and I turned the corner and I could see smoke on the roof," said DeSimone.

Luck would prevail on that day; these firefighters are hoping by passing this equipment out, luck won't be the only thing 300 more families will have to rely on this holiday season.

"I was. I was there at the right place at the right time," said DeSimone.

December typically sees a major spike in accidental fires, deaths and property damage.

Thursday's fire caused about $150,000 in damage. Investigators say that fire was electrical.