Use of Smoke Detectors Urged Following Deaths of Six Children in Arkansas

NOVEMBER 22, 2005 - Posted at 8:15 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The deaths of six children in two house fires this month in Arkansas have prompted fire-safety officials to renew their endorsement of smoke detectors and the need to keep them in good working order.

A toddler and two infants died in the early morning hours of November 9 in Malvern.  The Malvern fire marshall said there was no smoke detector in the home.  The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Early Friday morning, three children under the age of six died in a house in Forrest City.  There was a smoke detector in the home but Forrest City deputy fire marshall Jimmy Sandage said he didn't know if it went off.  He said an overloaded electrical socket caused the fire.

In both cases, desperate adults tried to save the children, but were turned back by intense heat.

The U.S. Fire Administration says young children and adults over 65 face additional risk for fire injuries and deaths.  The agency says that, in 2002, there were 2,500 children injured or killed in fires across the nation and 2,300 elderly people injured or killed the same year.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)