2008-11-07 / Letters

Smoke Detectors Save Lives

Dear Editor,

Last weekend, two tragic fires claimed eight lives. In Manhattan on October 11, flames and black smoke in a Chelsea apartment wiped out an entire family - two parents and four children. The next day, a 12-year-old boy and his uncle died during another fire in Brooklyn.

Neither apartment had the benefit of a working smoke alarm. Without that device, there was no warning for these families when flames started to rise and smoke gathered - not until it was too late.

In New York City last year, 95 people died in fires. More than two-thirds of those deaths had one thing in common: no working smoke alarms. What makes these events truly tragic is knowing how easily they might have been avoided.

A smoke alarm is your family's protector. Removing the battery or disconnecting the wire that connects it to your building's electrical system puts everyone's life at risk.

Even though fire deaths are at historical lows, every death is one too many. Many of them are preventable. Keeping a working smoke alarm in your home is critical to every New Yorker's safety.

NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA

FIRE COMMISSIONER

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