A garage fire broke out and spread to the adjoining apartment building on the 100 block of Charles Street in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood as the Red Cross was canvassing the street to install free smoke alarms during a Sound the Alarm event in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 21, 2017.
An installation and education team had literally just installed smoke alarms in the neighboring house and was in a house across the street when the fire started, causing four families to evacuate the apartment building. The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire and Police Department, who were working with the Red Cross on the Home Fire Campaign event, quickly brought the flames under control. As the fire and police departments worked the scene, a Red Cross Disaster Action Team met with those displaced, providing them with the resources necessary to secure food, clothing, and temporary lodging.
“What happened today proves that fires can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time,” noted Dan Tobin, Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Director of Communications. “People need to be prepared by having a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.”
There were roughly 60 volunteers out in the Knoxville community for today’s Sound the Alarm event. As the first responders took care of the fire and the Red Cross Disaster Action Team tended to those displaced, volunteers continued to go door-to-door, installing smoke alarms and providing important fire prevention information. Close to 270 smoke alarms were installed.
Meanwhile, additional Sound the Alarm events were being held in Allegheny Township (Westmoreland County) and Bradford (McKean County). In Allegheny Township, ten volunteers installed 50 smoke alarms, while in Bradford 25 volunteers installed close to 90 smoke alarms.
Tobin added, “Due to the tremendous generosity of our volunteers, the Red Cross was able to install over 400 free smoke alarms in three different Western Pennsylvania Communities earlier today. Their service will no doubt one day save a life. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for making our Sound the Alarm events so successful.”
The Red Cross would like to thank Erie Insurance for sponsoring this year’s Sound the Alarm events, and would like to acknowledge those who worked alongside our own volunteers and staff for the three events held throughout Western Pennsylvania today: Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, Pittsburgh Police, St. Paul AME Church, Beltzhoover Consensus Group, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (school and students), Allegheny Township Fire Department, and countless community volunteers.