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New grant hopes to reduce number of fire fatalities

With the alarming number of fatalities this year caused by fires, the state is hoping a new grant will bring changes.

Posted: Sep. 10, 2018 6:21 PM
Updated: Sep. 10, 2018 6:25 PM

CASS COUNTY, Ind (WLFI) -  The cause of death of the two children who died in a Logansport house fire last Sunday were released Monday morning. One year old Jason Whitelow Jr. and 5 year old Cateleyna Arellano died from smoke inhalation. The children are the latest to have died due to a fire in Indiana.

With the alarming number of fatalities this year caused by fires, the state is hoping a new grant will bring changes. 

In the wake of Sunday's house fire, people are taking action. Assistant Chief Mark Strong with the Logansport Fire Department said multiple families have already come in to update their smoke detectors. "Anytime something like this happens, that's the only good thing that comes out of it. At least people were reminded to check their fire alarms," said Strong.

2017 saw 73 deaths caused by fires in Indiana. With the passing of the two children last Sunday in Logansport, the death toll for 2018 has reached 65. This year's death toll is expected to surpass that of 2017.

A new grant is hoping to bring changes for the future. It will allow for smoke detectors to become more readily available, something Strong believes will bring results. "Anything to help put the fire alarms and fire detectors in house is just going to benefit everyone all the way around," added Strong.

Indiana's State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says cooking, discarded tobacco products, faulty furnaces, and space heaters are the leading causes of home fires. With an extended battery life, he thinks the detectors provide an extra level of safety.
"The smoke alarms that we purchase should all have the 10 year lithium batteries in. So you don't have to worry about changing the batteries. You can't take the batteries out, they are sealed," said Greeson.


The grant will provide more than $500,000 for fire departments across the state. In addition to the detectors, it will allow for additional fire prevention programs to be added.

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