It was a night he’ll never forget. As a Red Cross volunteer, Jacques DuBose, had traveled to Boerne about a year and a half ago — on his birthday, incidentally — to render financial assistance to a family that had been displaced by a severe mobile home fire. The home was fully engulfed in flames by the time the three residents — an older man and his wife, and their granddaughter — woke up. The grandfather and little girl escaped and were sent to recover in a hospital burn unit. But not their loved one.

“She was about a foot from the door,” DuBose said. “It was tragic.”

By the time firefighters had quenched the flames, about all that was left of the house was the fireplace, where the blaze is believed to have started; a hot log apparently rolled onto the floor as the family slept, DuBose said. The man and his elementary school-aged granddaughter had lost their possessions, as well as a family member.

“It was really a sad day,” DuBose said.

Had the mobile home been equipped with smoke alarms, the family could have woken up before the fire got out of hand, he said. This incident, as well as another fire later that year in a Boerne home that lacked a smoke detector, sparked a coordinated effort to distribute free smoke alarms in that city.

DuBose and members of the Kerrville Fire Department will undertake the same effort in Kerrville this weekend, and the only limit to distributing the 300 smoke alarms they have is the number of volunteers available, he said.

Dannie Smith, chief of the Kerrville Fire Department, said the presence of a smoke alarm increases the chance of surviving a fire by

50 percent.

This year, smoke alarms will be distributed to the neighborhoods of Paschal, Three Hills, Rio Robles and Legion Hills.

Volunteering to distribute the smoke alarms on Saturday involves showing up to the Red Cross office at 8 a.m., having a free breakfast, undergoing training on what they’ll be doing that day, and being assigned to a team that includes a member of the fire department and a season Red Cross member.

Those who wish to volunteer can call Dennis Land at 830-285-7722 or send a message to dennis.land@redcross.org. Or, they can show up at 8 a.m. at the Red Cross office, 333 Earl Garrett St.

In addition to distributing smoke alarms, teams will be on the look out for fire hazards and will hand out fire safety materials.

GET INVOLVED

• WHAT: Sound the Alarm, Save a Life smoke alarm distribution event

• WHERE: American Red Cross office, 333 Earl Garrett St.

• WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday

• INFORMATION: Dennis Land at 830-285-7722 or send a message to dennis.land@redcross.org

 

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