Nov. 27 was a terrible day for the Logansport community. Four children — 3-year-old Swayze Hite; 1-year-old Rhylie Hite; 3-month-old Marshall Hite; their mother, Brandi Hite; 10-year-old KaDee Huddleston, and her father, Joseph, were killed in a house fire.
According to The Associated Press, more than 85 people have died in fires in Indiana in 2018, an increase of 13 over the previous year. And Monday, the State Fire Marshal’s office announced it was doing something about it.
The state announced it will use $521,000 it received in federal funding to install 10,000 smoke detectors in Hoosier homes.
Working with the Red Cross, firefighters installed more than 5,700 smoke detectors since October 2014, according to state fire officials. With the federal funding, the State Fire Marshal’s office will launch a statewide smoke detector education and distribution campaign called “Get Alarmed Indiana.”
Home fires are the biggest disaster threat Americans face, the Red Cross says. Improper use of alternate heaters increases that threat as people turn to other ways to heat their homes when the temperatures drop.
Many people use alternate sources of heat to cut down on heating bills. If your family is among that group, the Red Cross offers these tips:
• Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least 3 feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.
• Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
• Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson said there were no smoke alarms in the home of the fatal Logansport fire. Foul play has been ruled out as a cause.
But this much is clear: Fires can be deadly.