Shawn Spaulding had just returned to his home in Akron on Saturday, April 30th, after a long day of work. The private security guard was unwinding on his living room couch when the smoke alarm in the next room sounded. Fire had erupted behind a wall on the second floor of his home, and the smoke was starting to fill the entire house.
“I knew it was a situation beyond my control,” he said just a few days after the incident. He called 911 and evacuated the home.
Akron firefighters responded within minutes and were able to save the home, but not before significant damage had been done. Despite the damage, Shawn’s most treasured possessions were spared.
“I don’t know what I would have done if I lost my military records and piano.”
Children’s toys filled a pack n’ play in the dining room of the home, and more toys were seen on the front porch. They belong to Shawn’s 3-year old granddaughter Jemeara, who lives with her grandfather but was under someone else’s care and was not home the night of the fire.
The smoke alarm that alerted Shawn to the fire had been installed about a year earlier by Akron firefighters, through a partnership with the Red Cross. The two firefighters who installed the alarm, Lieutenant Joe Falkenstein and firefighter Steve Dort returned to the home to check on Mr. Spaulding, who is now among 1,331people whose lives have been saved since 2014 as a result of the American Red Cross home fire campaign.
“It saves lives,” Shawn said of the smoke alarm program. “It really does.”
To request a smoke alarm in the Akron area, residents can call 330-535-2030. Elsewhere throughout Northern Ohio, you can visit soundthealarm.org/noh to learn how to request smoke alarms for your home.