HENRY COUNTY, Ind. (Feb. 9, 2016)-- A grandfather and his four-year-old granddaughter were laid to rest in Henry County on Tuesday, but their deaths are prompting volunteer firefighters in their community to take action to try and save other lives.
Michael “Stump” Dale and Jenna Dale died last Wednesday in a house fire. The cause remains unknown.
First responders said they did not hear smoke detectors going off at the Dale house when they got on scene the morning of the fire, though family members told them the home had detectors.
“We’re hoping in the future going forward, that something like that tragedy can be prevented,” said Heather Logan, Safety Officer, with the Lewisville Volunteer Fire Department.
Tuesday night volunteer firefighters from a handful of different departments met in Henry County to put pen to paper and work with the American Red Cross to ensure functioning smoke detectors will be in every Henry County home.
There’s no secret that the county is rural, with only one paid department in the county. Thirteen others are volunteer. That’s why firefighters said working detectors are critical.
“It will take a few minutes for the fire department to get there, because we’re all volunteers. We come from our house. We don’t live on station,” said Jim Raines, Liberty Township Fire Chief.
The Home Fire Campaign is a national effort by the American Red Cross. Zip codes in New Castle and Muncie were deemed to be at a higher risk, citing a lack of house fire preparations.
Now the focus turns to rural areas, because of firefighters who don’t want to see a double-fatal scene again.
“Get everybody trained, hit the road, and get everybody knocking on doors,” said Logan.
Departments expect to have campaigns organized in the coming weeks.
You can contact the American Red Cross in Muncie at (765) 284-3361. As part of the campaign, you can receive a new smoke detector if you don’t have one, replace an existing smoke detector, get batteries replaced, and receive education about a fire safety plan.