Volunteers distribute smoke detectors through town hit by traged - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Volunteers distribute smoke detectors through town hit by tragedy

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Volunteers had nearly 500 smoke detectors to distribute throughout Lake City. Volunteers had nearly 500 smoke detectors to distribute throughout Lake City.
LAKE CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

More than 80 volunteers from across Iowa gathered inside Lake City's fire house. Their inspiration: a family that lost four family members, including three children, in a November fire.

"They very easily could have looked at the negative side of this, but they're not. I mean, their character is strong enough and their family values are strong enough that they want to just make sure that this doesn't happen to any other family," said Bobby Rist, Lake City's police chief.

So, volunteers readied themselves for this trek, to bring functioning smoke detectors throughout town.

"My goal is to put smoke alarms in every kids' home in the state," said Ray Reynolds, the Iowa state fire marshal.

But Reynolds is starting small, sending out teams of four or five through Lake City, to check on every home owner.

"Sometimes it takes a terrible disaster to make everyone aware, we need to get out there and prevent these disasters from happening," said Bob Kirschbaum, resource officer for American Red Cross.

Volunteers will be distributing about 500 of these through the town. If they run out, folks can make appointments to get them replaced.

Crews asked home owners about the safety of their home, and then checked the smoke detectors to see if they were less than 10 years old and had fresh batteries. They also checked to see that each house had two smoke alarms.

"Going around town, we found one home that had no smoke alarms in it, whatsoever," said Gary Fahan, the mayor of Lake City.

Others were old, and needed replacing. With each installation, volunteers say they felt they were making a small difference.

"I can't think of a better way to build community, to build resiliency. This community was shattered by this fire," said Reynolds.

"One big step in the road towards recovery, accepting the loss and the circumstances. And I think it's great in healing. They're healing," said Rist.

All the while, they're working to leave a positive legacy, for those lost in the fire.

The smoke alarms came from a grant to the fire department. Plus, all of the batteries were donated by Interstate batteries to keep those homes up to date and safe.

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