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Firefighters stress smoke alarms, drills in light of recent fatal house fires

AUBURN, Wash. – Two fires in two different communities have turned tragic in just the past week alone.

Late Wednesday night, a 32-year-old man and a 4-year-old boy died when fire consumed their Auburn apartment.

Last weekend, two more children died in a Skagit County house fire that authorities believe was set on purpose.

These are awful tragedies no family should have to suffer.

So we wanted to ask firefighters – what can people do now to protect our families in the event of the unthinkable?

“A lot of them might sound like common sense but they’re things we see over and over in fires that could change the outcome,” said Christie Veley, spokesperson for the Marysville Fire District.

Working smoke detectors can save lives, said Veley, but they need power to be useful during an emergency.

“Keep working batteries in your smoke alarms,” she said. “Test your smoke alarms once a month. It’s a crucial step that could save your life.”

Veley said bedrooms and other rooms should have their doors closed in the event of a fire, as they can help shield people from heat and toxic smoke.

She also said it’s important for families to practice fire drills, and make sure everyone knows where to meet afterward.

“Have a home escape plan that you put tougher with your family,” she said. “You want to practice that plan at least twice a year. Make sure your kids know what a smoke alarm sounds like and know what to do when that alarm goes off.”

Firefighters at the Valley Regional Fire Authority said they have a program that offers smoke alarms to elderly and low-income residents in its service area.