• Volunteers make sure people are prepared in wake of recent deadly fires


    HOMEWOOD, Pa. - A deadly fire in Homewood was one of several in our area over the past couple of weeks.

    The recent tragedies inspired some Red Cross volunteers to help the community.

    In the bitter cold Friday, Red Cross volunteers were out knocking on doors and, if no one answered, hanging informational packets on their doorknobs.

    The goal is to keep everyone safe and warm in the snow and cold.


    "The last month has been fairly busy," said Rick Baird, a disaster-action team volunteer with the American Red Cross. "We've had, I believe, about 20 to 25 fires in Allegheny County alone."

    Such tragedies happen more often during the colder months.

    "People, of course, in very cold weather sometimes use portable heaters and they plug too many heaters into a power strip or an outlet and that causes some of the electrical circuits to overload and cause a fire," said David Herzog, a volunteer home fire campaign lead with the Red Cross.

    The U.S. Fire Administration says space heaters are to blame for 74 percent of fire-related deaths in the United States, so volunteers took to the streets of Homewood on one of the coldest days, knocking on doors and trying to spread the message about fire safety.


    "This is what needs to be done, because there's a lot of children that's dying because of these fires," said Carla Smith of Homewood.

    With the cold snap expected to continue, volunteers also made sure residents had the proper equipment should a fire break out.

    They installed smoke detectors free of charge.

    If you'd like one installed, dial 311 for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire.



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