Alton Fire Finds Many Homes Without Smoke Detectors

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ALTON – With weather conditions favorable for fires this week, the Alton Fire Department is looking to help protect residents.

Nick Zepeda, a city of Alton arson investigator, said they have already dealt with a hand full of house fires so far this year. In many cases, the homes or even ones nearby lacked a single smoke detector.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with Ana Escobedo Cardenas in Alton. She said she lost a home to a fire once before.

"Yes with my own family and it is painful. I do not want to have to go through that again," said Cardenas. 

Cardenas said she fears it may one day happen again, "We have a lot of children and they could accidentally cause a fire." 

For the past three and a half years, Cardenas has lived without a smoke detector.

Our crews rode along with Alton fire crews where they found this was common in her area. 

"Sometimes these houses don't have any smoke detectors and it's really all around. It doesn't matter if it's low income or high income or middle class," said Zepeda.

This issue doesn't just keep to Alton. Betty Lou Hicks with the American Red Cross said they see this across the Valley. "This year the Harlingen chapter has already installed well over 1,000 alarms," said Hicks.

On Saturday, fire crews installed detectors in more than 75 homes in Alton.

"These detectors work tremendously; whether you're as sleep, you're in the shower, you're in another room if there is ever a fire the job of these alarms is to alert you that there's a fire and smoke in the area and you need to get out," said Zepeda.

With weather favorable for fires expected this upcoming week, Zepeda says now is the time to act to keep families like Cardenas safe.

The American Red Cross said they plan to install more smoke detectors in homes across the valley as the year goes on.

For more information, you can call them at 956-423-0523.


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