Members of the Chattanooga Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau, along with firefighters from Station 4, canvassed the area around Rawlings Street in Avondale Wednesday morning, installing free smoke alarms. This event follows the fatal fire on Monday at 2014 Rawlings Street that claimed the life of a child, and left another in critical condition at the burn center in Augusta, Ga. The firefighters visited the homes along Rawlings Street, as well as homes on nearby streets.
Fire Marshal James Whitmire said Wednesday’s effort can’t negate the tragedy that occurred Monday, but hopefully their actions will help prevent future tragedies. “We know the loss of a child has had a huge impact on this neighborhood, like it would anywhere,” said Mr. Whitmire. “We’re just trying to reach out to them now to make sure they have working smoke alarms. Having at least one working smoke alarm more than doubles your chances of surviving a fire in your home.”
The firefighters visited a little over 40 homes in the area around Rawlings Street. Out of the 40 homes visited, 27 smoke alarms were installed. In a few of those, two smoke alarms were installed in the same home. Several batteries were also installed where the smoke alarms were still operable, but had dead batteries. Literature on fire safety and a home fire prevention checklist was also left with the residents.
Wednesday’s operation is similar to what the Chattanooga Fire Department does twice a year with the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee. Different at-risk neighborhoods are visited each time.