Gumboro trailer fire living proof smoke alarm education saves lives

Approximately three years ago the Department of Justice approached the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association regarding funding for smoke alarm installation in low-income neighborhoods across the State.

Mike Lowe.

As a result of a settlement with the Bank of America, the Department of Justice directed funds to the DVFA that was to be used by the Wake Up Delaware committee to purchase and encourage the installation of smoke alarms.

In early July the Gumboro Volunteer Fire Company received an allotment of smoke alarms and established a program to inspect, install and educate residents of the Carey’s Camp area about them.  According to fire company president George Wilkerson 47 smoke alarms were installed.

On Aug. 4 at 04:47 hours Sussex Emergency Operations alerted Gumboro Volunteer Fire Company for a mobile home fire at 31557 Carey’s Drive.  Engine 79-1 responded with Capt. Josh Baker as officer.

While enroute further information received by dispatch resulted in the alarm being upgraded to a working fire with Millsboro and Dagsboro fire companies being alerted along with Sussex County EMS.

Upon arrival crews found smoke evident from the mobile home.  Capt. Baker assumed Command and assigned Capt. Kyle Wilkerson as Operations Officer.

Crews found a fire in the kitchen that was quickly extinguished with minimal damage.

Speaking with the residents of the home, food was being prepared for a church event later in the day.  A fire started with all residents but one still in bed.

The smoke alarm, which was installed by Gumboro Volunteer Fire Company, alerted the residents of the fire and they were able to safely escape.

Reports were that it was very doubtful that without the new smoke alarms the fire would have been contained with such minimal damage and the residents would have been able to escape the fire.

Congratulations to the Wake Up Delaware Committee and the Gumboro Volunteer Fire Company on a job well done.

Editor’s Note: Mike Lowe is the Delaware State Fire School Public Education Senior Instructor.

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