Oakview Apartment fire investigation continues - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Oakview Apartment fire investigation continues

It happened early last Tuesday morning...too quickly for rescuers to save 8-year-old Lonzo Jones, his 2-year-old sister Brittany Watkins, and their mother's boyfriend Paul Reynolds.

All three died in their burning unit at the Oakview Apartments.

The apartment owner says firefighters found the smoke detector in a kitchen drawer...

Sunday, it happened again...

Ruby and Lewis Wilson died of smoke inhalation when their Goodwill Road home went up in flames...

Investigators say there were no working smoke detectors.

Firefighters couldn't save these five people... but they say more fire deaths are preventable with the early notification a smoke detector provides.

"That smoke detector is generally the device that we depend upon to give you that early notification so that you can evacuate quickly," says Chief Ronald Brown with the Memphis Fire Department.

Brown continues,"If it's not working or it's not there then of course you can't expect that you would have that quick notification."

Still experts say many people, mostly low income, either don't know the importance of smoke detectors or can't afford them. That's where the fire department can help.

Brown says, "Memphis does have a program within fire services that does giveaway smoke detectors and install them for people who need them."

An easy solution...and a tough lesson...smoke detectors are cheap...lives are not.

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