Firefighters canvass neighborhood following fatal fire

July 14, 2011 10:26:36 AM PDT
Houston firefighters are canvassing a northeast Houston neighborhood giving residents information about smoke detectors. This comes in the wake of Wednesday's fire that killed an elderly couple in that neighborhood. The city has closed the property near Hobart Taylor Park and declared it a hazard after a fierce fatal fire. Firefighters were back on the scene Thursday with a message of prevention.

Firefighters are walking the streets of the neighborhood, trying to do what they can to prevent another tragedy, giving residents information about smoke alarms, encouraging them to have an evacuation route prepared in the event of a fire.

An older couple, Dorothy Moore and Eddie Manuel died Wednesday when their home caught fire in the early morning hours. When firefighters arrived, the flames were so heavy they couldn't get in right away, and were only able to reach the couple later.

The couple was found in the back of the house. It seems they were trying to escape the flames. Because of the extent of the damage, the fire department cannot say whether or not the couple had a smoke alarm, but they say this is an appropriate time to talk about fire prevention.

"The safety measures that I want to get out is that any fires that are in any residential home can be possibly assisted so that the family members can get out if they have a working smoke alarm," said Asst. Chief Rick Flanagan with the Houston Fire Department. "We don't know, have not concluded if they had at this time."

"After the incident, they're definitely more aware of what can happen, so they're a little bit more in line to accept the help as opposed to coming out blind without an incident," said Houston firefighter Albert Bennett. "Everyone has the ideology that it will never happen to me. After an incident with someone that's in proximity to you, you're a little bit more inclined to say, 'Hey, that could've been me.'"

As they go door to door, firefighters are also checking smoke alarms to make sure they're working properly. They added that if anyone cannot afford a smoke alarm, they should go to their local fire station to receive assistance in getting one.

The cause of the fire and the cause of death of Moore and Manuel is under investigation.

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