Even after deadly Cleveland house fires, few take advantage of free smoke alarms

CLEVELAND-- A series of deadly house fires in Cleveland led the FOX 8 I-Team to go door-to-door finding out how many of you are living dangerously, taking a daily gamble by living with no smoke detectors in your home.

We found it to be kind of a risky, open secret.

Consider the grandmother helping to raise five kids in a home near East 55th Street and Broadway in Cleveland. Carol Adkins admitted she hasn’t had a smoke detector for years.

On the west side, Olivia Hill  showed us where she just changed a smoke detector battery in the bedroom for her babies only hours before the I-Team came knocking. She told us the battery had died weeks ago and she kept putting off replacing it until hearing about one of the city’s recent deadly house fires.

The last time the National Fire Protection Association did a phone survey, 96 percent, almost everybody answering  claimed to have a smoke detector.

Last week, when the local Red Cross reminded everyone it works with fire departments to give away free detectors, nobody stepped up to ask for one.

So how do we keep seeing fatal fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working detectors?

Elizabeth Harris, another grandmother, allowed us in to see she has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors all over the house. She said she tests them regularly.

But Adkins shared with us she can’t afford that.

That’s why the Red Cross teams up with fire departments throughout Northeast Ohio to inspect homes for fire safety and provide free smoke detectors for those in need.

In Cleveland, you can call 216-361-5535. Anyone throughout Northeast Ohio can also find out more at www.redcross.org/neoosal.