A spate of deadly house fires has tormented southeast Queens for the last few years due to the unnecessary deaths in homes that lacked operating smoke detectors.
Now, state Senator Leroy Comrie is partnering with the American Red Cross and the FDNY to provide free smoke alarms to residents on Wednesday, June 12, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at his district office.
In a public service announcement for his Sound the Alarm initiative, Comrie notes that more lives are lost each year due to home fires than due to natural disasters and according to the FDNY, an operable smoke detector in a home cuts an individual dying in a fire nearly in half.
Recent tragedies in our community have reminded us of the importance of being fully prepared for the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide in the home,” Comrie said. “Smoke and CO detectors are proven life-saving tools, which is why my office is working with the American Red Cross and the FDNY to ensure that every southeast Queens home is properly equipped with a detector.”
One particularly tragic house fire has gripped Comrie’s district since a four-alarm fire destroyed three homes and took the lives of five people between the ages of 2 and 20 years old. One of the victims, 17-year-old scholar athlete Melody Edwards, was honored with a street co-naming ceremony in May.
Comrie remembered the prospective graduate at the Queens High School of Teaching.
“Melody Anne-Simone Edwards was a gifted young woman with a bright future and she will be missed by family, friends and her community,” Comrie said at the time. “Though we lost her and four other young adults and children is an unspeakable tragedy, we saw the best of who we are in its aftermath.”
Investigators found there were no smoke detectors in the home where the blaze began and safety town halls were held throughout southeast Queens in its aftermath where smoke detectors were given away.
“The FDNY is committed to reaching every community with the life-saving message of fire safety education and we want each New Yorker to have a working smoke alarm in their house,” FDNY Assistant Chief Edward Baggott said at the ceremony.
Comrie wants to keep the momentum going with his Sound the Alarm initiative with free smoke and CO detectors will be distributed and installed for free by appointment. His district office is located at 113-43 Farmers Blvd. in St. Albans.