Number of fire deaths reaches 6-year high

Jack Jackson surveys the damage inside his former home. (Photo: WKRN)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The number of people killed in fires this year stands at 104, which is a six-year high.

Fire inspectors Elizabeth Bednarcik and Mario Mendoza are working to change that concerning trend. They’re going door-to-door in neighborhoods in Gallatin and installing smoke detectors for people who don’t have them.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

They installed five smoke detectors free of charge at their first stop.

“A family of five here– so a mom, dad and three kids. When you go to bed at night, your nose, actually your sense of smell goes to bed first really, so people, that’s why you have to have smoke detectors at night. It is when we have our fatal fires. Nothing else is going to wake you up but that smoke detector,” explained Bednarcik.

Jack Jackson knows the importance of smoke detectors all too well. His mobile home was destroyed this week in a fire. Bednarcik and Mendoza determined the cause of the fire was electrical.

“I would have lost my baby girls if they were asleep,” said Jackson.

He had just received a giving tree from the Salvation Army for his family so they could have presents to open on Christmas.

The Giving Tree was also destroyed in the fire. Jackson told News 2 he is keeping things in perspective.

He had several working smoke detectors in his mobile home during that fire, and that’s really important because fires spread so quickly through mobile home communities.

Bednarcik and Mendoza are urging people to call their local fire department if they need a smoke detector and they will install them for free. A number of fire departments have taken part in the effort.

Franklin Fire Department installed 126 alarms, Mount Pleasant Fire Department installed 109 alarms, and Lawrenceburg installed 102 smoke alarms.

Jackson’s friends set up a fund to help the family rebuild. Click here to donate.