Tanita Lockwood returned home from the store Friday afternoon, Sept. 25, 2015 and heard from the street the noise of smoke alarms going off inside her home. She called 911. Tanita lived in the two-story house in the Roseland community on Chicago’s South Side with her family. None of the 10 family members were home when the fire started.
However, Tanita said if she hadn’t heard the alarm warning she might not have been aware of the fire until it was too late. “Who knows if I didn’t hear it? I wouldn’t have paid any attention,” she said. “I might have sat on the porch for a while if I hadn’t heard the smoke detectors.”
Six days earlier, dozens of Red Cross volunteers went door-to-door in Roseland—which has one of the highest numbers of fire fatalities in Northern Illinois—and installed more than 400 smoke alarms as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. Five of those new alarms were installed in Tanita’s home.
The Red Cross was notified at 5:44 p.m. of the fire and volunteers arrived shortly after to help Tanita’s family with their immediate needs, including food and shelter. Tanita said she is grateful to the Red Cross for helping her family after the fire and for installing smoke alarms in her home.
“If it helps someone, I want to tell my story,” she said. “Smoke detectors – it’s a must that you have them.”