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After a dangerous fire, volunteers distribute smoke detectors to mobile home residents

  • Author: Loren Holmes
  • Updated: January 17
  • Published January 16

From left, volunteers Guisselle Montes and Madison Ashley help the Red Cross’ Steven Fisher canvass homes at the South Park Estates mobile home park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Thirteen volunteers from Americorps, Ravn and Denali Federal Credit Union visited 62 homes and installed about 50 free smoke alarms, as well as delivered fire safety information. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

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.

Celia Jackson, a disaster program manager with the American Red Cross, gives an orientation to volunteers at Fire Station 5 ahead of a home fire safety campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

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.

James Wilson, left, goes over fire safety plans with volunteers Guisselle Montes and Madison Ashley in his home at the South Park Estates mobile home park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Wilson had no working smoke alarms in his home, and the Red Cross installed three for free. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

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.

Steven Fisher installs a smoke alarm as Madison Ashley, in blue, goes over fire safety information with Flory Banua in her home at the South Park Estates mobile home park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Thirteen volunteers from Americorps, Ravn and Denali Federal Credit Union visited 62 homes and installed about 50 free smoke alarms, as well as delivered fire safety information. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

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