Rock Spring, GA – The Red Cross of Georgia honored Walker County Fire Rescue today for its exemplary partnership to install free smoke alarms that saved eight lives in two recent home fires. It was the most lives saved in Georgia in a single month since the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign began in 2014.
“Our partnership with Walker County Fire Rescue is one of the strongest we have,” said Leigh Barba, executive director of the Red Cross in Northwest Georgia. “It’s no accident that it’s saving lives.”
The Walker County total pushed the number of lives saved nationwide by the Home Fire Campaign to almost 700, including 22 lives saved in Georgia. The support of local partners and volunteers has helped make the campaign a success.
In Walker County, over the past two years, firefighters have placed a thousand free smoke alarms, supplied by the Red Cross and other organizations, in residents’ homes.
“This campaign is making a real difference in our community. We appreciate the recognition of a great relationship with the Red Cross that is a proven life saver,” said Walker County Fire Rescue Chief Blake Hodge at an awards ceremony at the Walker County Civic Center.
Also attending the ceremony were members of the three-generation family of six that survived the December 11, 2019 fire in Rock Spring, which started near the Christmas tree about 2:30 a.m.
Brittany Mitchell, who was 31-weeks pregnant at the time, was first to hear a smoke alarm. She grabbed her 2-year-old son Alex and woke her 9-year-old brother Devin Wooten.
“All I could see was flames,” Devin said. “I jumped up on a couch and then ran across a burning table out the back door. I was screaming and I could hear the smoke alarms. At first I thought it was a dream.”
It was Devin who, drawn to Walker County fire trucks at a school fair, asked his grandmother about a smoke alarm display. Within days Walker County fire safety educator Regina Dorsey had installed smoke alarms at no cost. Without them, the fire would have been grim.
“We would have had six body bags lined up in the yard without smoke alarms,” said Dorsey. “Smoke alarms save lives.”
Then on the day after Christmas, an electrical fire by a water heater triggered a smoke alarm near LaFayette. Homeowner Wayne Day, 85, called 911 and Walker County Fire Rescue came right away. The fire didn’t spread, but “you never know,” Day said.
Red Cross smoke alarms had saved two more lives. “I stopped at the fire department and asked if they could come put them in, and they did,” Day said. “It made a big difference.”