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Donated smoke alarms saved family of 13

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 15, 2019

CINCINNATI — Smoke filled a family home in Avondale as everyone slept inside.

The family of 13 was unaware of the danger until their smoke detectors went off. These smoke detectors, however, weren't there when they bought the house in 2016.

One day, volunteers came walking down Hallwood Place in Avondale.

"It just so happened we came outside and seen them walking around, and we had no fire detectors in the house at the time," said Kenneth Simpson, whose family escaped a fire in their home last December.

The volunteers outside were part of the Red Cross Mega Blitz - now called Sound the Alarm. The campaign provides free smoke detectors in an effort to give away at least two thousand each year.

"Definitely sad to head that people lost their home, or lost anything in a fire, but great to hear that people were able to get out safely...and I was a part of it," said Joey Schroth, one of the volunteers handing out smoke alarms for the Red Cross.

When the Simpson family's furnace blew last December, many members of the family were fast asleep, including Kenneth's son, Kendell.

"I didn't wake up for the fire," said Kendell. "I was the one closest to the fire in the basement and I was the last one woke."

All 13 members of the family made it out of the home as firefighters showed up, but the event has left an impression on the family. Some of the children say they want to volunteer with Sound the Alarm this year.

"If it weren't for the Red Cross installing those fire detectors, I don't know if we would all have got out the house safely," said Kenneth.

The Red Cross has successfully installed 28,500 free alarms in the Greater Cincinnati area since 2014. This year's Sound the Alarm blitz is in April and May.