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Firefighters Installing Free Smoke Detectors in Greene County Homes

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Firetruck with the Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company Firetruck with the Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company
Sean Ryan Sean Ryan
Smoke detector installed by members of the Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company Smoke detector installed by members of the Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company
GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A house fire that claimed the lives of four family members in Greene County is prompting firefighters to travel around the county installing free smoke detectors for anyone who needs them.

“We'll do it until every home here has a smoke detector,” said Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company Chief Sean Ryan.

Ryan says it’s important every home has working smoke detectors, because they shorten the department's response time and limit the damage.

“The last few fires that we’ve had in Greene County we’ve noticed a trend: none of the homes had working smoke detectors. Whether they were present and not working, or not working at all,” said the fire chief.

One of those homes was on Matthew Mill Road. Much of the home was already covered in flames when crews arrived on scene Monday, December 18. Several firefighters were injured trying to rescue the three people trapped inside. Six-year-old Camden, 21-year-old Jeremy, and 26-year-old Cynthia Morris died at the scene. Their grandparents were able to make it out of the home, but 70-year-old Jackie Morris was transported to the hospital in critical condition. She passed away on Saturday, December 30.

Chief Ryan says after that tragedy he knew what he had to do: go out with his crew and install the detectors themselves.

“We’re trying to target everybody, anybody who doesn't have a smoke detector, anybody who might be at higher risk. Some of the areas in the outlying parts of the county, we want to make sure they have an early-warning system in case of a fire,” he said.

The Red Cross donated the smoke detectors, and the chief says everyone in Greene County is eligible for the free detectors and installation.

Ryan says most smoke detectors only last about 10 years: “Check it right away to make sure that it sounds. If its older than 10 years old, you need to check with the manufacturer to see if it still functions properly. Make sure batteries are in operation. Any question of hardwired detectors you can call an electrician.”

If you live in Greene County and would like to take advantage of this service, you can call the Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company at 434-985-7383, or message the department's Facebook page.

The firefighters are also offering to help your family put together an exit plan in case of emergency.

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