FDNY unveils its biggest fire safety campaign

Campaign prompted by deadly fire last March
February 11, 2008 4:43:15 PM PST
There is news Monday from the campaign trail. It's not the presidential campaign, it's the fire safety campaign. There is a new drive to install working smoke detectors in homes.

The target is the Highbridge section of the Bronx, where 11 months ago, 10 people died in a house fire.

Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Charlesworth has the story.

One new advertisement comes right out of the Woodycrest Avenue tragedy in the Bronx, the night in March that nine children and a young mother were lost in smoke and flames.

The big tips being driven home are to replace the batteries in your smoke detector and, if you are in a fire, call 911 and close all doors behind you.

And there's more. It's all part of a $900,000 grant from Homeland Security.

"So much of what happened perhaps could have been prevented under a better situation," representative Jose Serrano said.

"In 75 percent of the residential fires which resulted in a civilian fatality last year, 75 percent of the time, there was no working smoke detector or no detector at all," FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said.

One of the messages that officials say is not getting out there or not sinking in is that landlords, by law, must install working smoke detectors. But tenants are responsible for replacing the batteries every six months.

"Anybody who cannot afford a smoke detector, just drop a line and send it to the fire department that you need a smoke detector, with a battery," Scoppetta said. "We'll make sure that they get it."