NORWALK, Ohio-- A family tragedy is prompting a local man to help launch a campaign to promote the importance of smoke detectors.
Firefighters in Norwalk rushed to the scene of a house fire on January 26, 2018, and after putting out the blaze, discovered the bodies of the couple that owned the home and their son who was disabled.
Investigators told surviving family members that it appeared 65-year old Robert Griggs died in his sleep from smoke inhalation, and that his 57-year old wife, Rebecca, died while trying to shield their 27-year-old son, James, from the intense flames.
The Griggs’ eldest son, Rob, told FOX 8 News, “They found her on top of him. She was trying to protect him until her very last breath and they said that my dad had never moved; he didn't know what happened.”
Rob Griggs said his family was devastated when they were told there were no working smoke detectors inside the home. “If there were functioning smoke alarms, there is no doubt in my mind they would have all gotten out, but they said that the fire burned so hot and so fast and so quick that they weren't able to get out in time,” he said.
While grieving the loss of his parents and his brother, Rob Griggs decided he did not want other families to suffer the same kind of heartbreak, and that`s what he prompted him to volunteer at his local chapter of the American Red Cross.
For the Griggs family, a Red Cross campaign urging homeowners and landlords to check smoke detectors and batteries every six months is a personal crusade. “My parents were big time advocates of giving a kid a chance that didn't have one and my wife and I talk about it every day, if we do something to honor them, it would just be to help anybody we can, any single day, no matter what that meant,” he said.
“Just one person, save one life, it would just mean the world to us.”
Anyone in need of a smoke detector from the Red Cross can CLICK HERE for more information.