Last October, a home in the South Park Estates mobile home park in Anchorage was badly damaged by fire. This year, on a snowy Martin Luther King Jr. day, about a dozen volunteers braved the weather, walking through the park to offer free smoke detectors to anyone who wanted them.
"Can we check to see if your smoke detectors are working?" asked Steven Fisher, an Americorps volunteer working with the Red Cross. Most of the occupants, hunkered down inside as the snow fell outside, welcomed the volunteers.
James Wilson, a resident of the mobile home park, was happy to have Fisher and his team come into his crowded home. At one time, Wilson had working smoke alarms, but they were all gone now. As Fisher installed three new alarms, Americorps member Madison Ashley went over fire safety with Wilson and his father.
Another family next door was passing the time watching TV in their spotless doublewide. Flory Banua was playing with her grandson Zaiyrel Jay Campana when Fisher, Ashley and Montes stopped by. There were some smoke alarms in the building, but they weren't working.
As Fisher got to work, again installing three alarms, Ashley sat down with Banua and Campana and went over fire safety planning with them. One-year-old Campana loved it when Ashley demonstrated how to crawl outside during a fire, avoiding toxic smoke that rises. As they left, everyone had smiles on their faces.