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Bridgeport Kicks Off Fire Prevention Week With Free Inspections, Alarms

Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode and Mayor Joe Ganim discuss fire safety with Lorraine Terrace homeowner Judith Drew. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Bridgeport Deputy Fire Chief Lance Edwards, Mayor Joe Ganim and Fire Chief Richard Thode place a free smoke alarm in a Lorraine Terrace home. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Sincere Pettway was just three when fire ravaged through her Frenchtown Road home in January, killing her and injuring five others.

The story may have been different if there were batteries in the condo’s smoke detectors.

Memories of the tragedy are just one reason the Bridgeport Fire Department kicked off National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15) a little early Friday with a visit to Judith Drew’s home to inspect her smoke alarms and give her a few more free ones.

“This is a good thing. You have a lot of multifamily homes here (in Bridgeport),” the Lorraine Terrace homeowner said of the ongoing citywide program. “I just found a flier in my door and called.”

Fire Chief Richard Thode and Mayor Joe Ganim joined the firefighters inspecting Drew’s home to raise awareness for the city program, which has installed 50,000 free alarms since it started about a decade ago.

Thode said the department just bought another 4,000.

City firefighters blanket the city with fliers “so it’s fresh in people’s minds,” he said.

Bridgeport used to hire an outside firm to install the alarms, but, as of Wednesday, Oct. 5, firefighters are doing the installing, bringing out a fire truck, which also spreads awareness, Thode said.

“It’s really been a big, big draw,” said Thode, who said children like seeing the truck and neighbors often sign up for the free alarms.

And having firefighters do the installations saves the city about $120,000 a year, Thode said.

Drew followed firefighters through her home, asking questions about the best placement options. She has a tenant, so she said she’s doubly concerned about safety.

“If you’ve got any questions, you’ve got people here who can answer them,” Ganim told her.

If you’re interested in the free inspection and alarm program, call 203-335-8835 or e-mail to set up an appointment.

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