Forty-five homes were made safer on Monday in a southeast Charlotte neighborhood where two people died in a fire last week.
Firefighters, police and American Red Cross volunteers checked homes in the Marlwood neighborhood on Monday. They installed new smoke alarms if needed and helped create escape plans.
“A home fire death in any community is devastating,” Angela Broome Powley, regional CEO for the Western North Carolina Red Cross, said in a statement. “We hope by checking existing alarms, installing new alarms where needed, and helping families create escape plans, we have helped empower our neighbors with the knowledge and tools they need to better protect their families.”
The fire was reported at 8315 Wingfield Lane at about 1 a.m. Thursday. Fifty firefighters brought the fire under control in 40 minutes. The home was largely destroyed.
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Family members identified the victims as Dennis Swafford and Susan Swafford. Their dog Sandy was also killed, Observer news partner WBTV reported.
Fire crews tried desperately to save the two people inside, but one victim died at the scene and the other died at the hospital, reported WSOC. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Broome Powley said fire experts agree that people might have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home, so having an escape plan is as important as a working smoke alarm.
To learn more about how to create a plan and other fire safety tips, visit redcross.org. To request a smoke alarm, have one installed or have one tested, visit soundthealarm.org/wnc.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters each year, most of them home fires. On average, seven people die and 36 are hurt in home fires every day, according to the Red Cross.