WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem Fire Department assistant chief Harry Brown said the lack of calls Thursday morning came as a relief to crews, who have responded to three fatal fires in the past week and a half. These three fires are responsible for three of the seven fire deaths that have happened in the Triad.
Six people died in four separate fires in the past six days--one last Thursday in Thomasville, one Saturday in Winston-Salem, one Tuesday in Wallburg and one in Winston-Salem Wednesday.
A man who survived the Thomasville boarding house fire told WFMY News 2's Meghann Mollerus he was certain he did not hear his smoke alarms go off. By the time he was awoken by a roommate, the house was already filled with thick smoke.
Brown said in each of the deadly Winston-Salem fires, investigators found no working smoke alarm had been in place at the time of the fire. He said he believes lives could have been saved, if these alarms had been in place. He urges families to change their smoke alarm batteries this weekend when they change their clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Batteries should be changed at least once a year, and the smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month.
The National Fire Protection Association says the fire death rate is twice as high in homes without a working smoke alarm.