Local fire officials remind public of importance of smoke alarms

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — In early December, what could have been a tragedy was stopped because one local family had a working smoke alarm installed by the Red Cross in partnership with the Bristol Virginia Fire Department.

Janie Branson of Mellow Lane noticed smoke coming her furnace on Dec. 2 after her smoke alarm alerted her.

She along with a family member were able to escape the home and call first responders.

Although the furnace was destroyed, the home was saved.

“In all my heart with God, if I hadn’t had a smoke alarm, the trailer would’ve been on the ground,” Branson said.

The family met with local Red Cross representatives Saturday in an effort to raise awareness to the importance of smoke alarms and fire safety.

Leaders with the Bristol Virginia Fire Department said that in addition to smoke detectors, the public should also be aware of fire prevention, especially during the colder months.

“If you’re using additional heat sources such as a wall heater or portable heaters, you want to make sure they’re not around your curtains or anything combustible, and leave at least 4 feet between the heater and anything that can catch fire,” said Sgt. B.J. Scyphers.

The Bristol Red Cross office revealed that on Friday alone, the team had responded to four local house fires.

Scyphers said the department has installed numerous smoke detectors thus far and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

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