Little Village Fire Station Hands Out Free Smoke Detectors Following Fatal Fire

Bernie Tafoya
September 07, 2018 - 12:22 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A few dozen people waited in line Friday morning outside a fire station in the Little Village neighborhood where smoke detectors were being handed out for free. 

The fire nearly two weeks ago that killed 10 children in Little Village is still very much on people’s minds.

“I immediately thought of my children and thought what could I do to prevent this?” said Arcela Gonzalez, who has three teenage boys and a toddler daughter.

Gonzalez sids her apartment has a smoke detector in the living room. She said the one she got Friday will go in the kitchen, making her feel safer.

“Absolutely. Just this right here in my hand, this smoke detector could save my kids lives,” she said.

RELATED: Tenth Minor Dies From Little Village Fire Agency Investigates Possible Neglect In Deadly Little Village Fire | Questions Linger Following Little Village Fire That Killed 10 Kids

The fire department said it has handed out more than 14,000 free smoke detectors so far this year. First Deputy Fire Cmsr. Richard Ford adds, “smoke detectors can be purchased for less than the cost of a pack of cigarettes.”

Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder said, “if you cannot afford a smoke detector, we will provide them to you. You can contact 311, they will transfer you to my office.”

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Little Village resident Cindy Gonzalez and her husband have five children ages 10-months to 12-years old.  The deadly fire hit them hard. 

“Oh, my God. We couldn’t even sleep, you know, because we have our kids and we were like, what if that was us? We don’t even have smoke detectors. We freaked out," she said.

Gonzalez made sure she stopped by Engine 109 on 23rd and Kedzie on Friday morning for a free smoke detector. She said she plans to buy more.

First Deputy Fire Cmsr. Ford said the law requires smoke detectors.

“Landlords must ensure that smoke detectors are installed and tenants must ensure smoke detectors get batteries at least twice a year,” he said.