CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Over the last week, three deadly house fires were reported in Richmond and Chesterfield, killing a total of six people.
“It’s definitely upsetting,” said Chesterfield Fire Department battalion chief Sal Luciano, who said the severity and number of deadly fires have increased.
Now, local fire departments are using this time to stress the importance of working smoke alarms.
“Being all in the same week, it really brings to light the importance of fire prevention and fire safety,” Luciano said.
Luciano asks the public to check their smoke alarms monthly, changing the batteries twice a year. He recommends having an escape plan with a outdoor meeting place and practicing the plan on a regular basis.
He said don’t leave cooking unattended and properly dispose of ash from fireplaces, something the department sees a lot in the winter.
The most recent deadly fire broke out at a home on Banton Street on Richmond’s southside, killing 22-year-old Jasmine Allen and her two children, 4-year-old Kadene Allen and 9-month-old Jadae Copeland.
Jasmine Allen jumped from a second story window Sunday morning, trying to save herself from the flames. Richmond Fire confirmed there were no working smoke detectors in that house.
On Friday, Chesterfield Fire crews responded to a fire at the Shady Hill mobile home park on Jefferson Davis Highway. A 78-year-old man was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died at the hospital.
A second fire in Chesterfield County on Flynn Road last week on August 9 killed 4-year-old Liam Slayton and 8-year-old Cody Slayton. The fire also left the boy’s stepmother, Michal Slayton, and her baby, Kinsley Slayton, in critical condition.
In the two homes that caught fire in Chesterfield, Luciano said although the department can’t say there weren’t working smoke alarms, he said there was no indication that they had working smoke alarms.
Luciano said have an escape plan, getting an emergency escape ladder if you need one.
Hunter Slayton, dad of Liam and Cody, who made it out of his burning home on Flynn Road safely and Jasmine Allen, the mom who died on Richmond’s southside Sunday, both jumped from the second story of each home.
“They were using what they were considering the second way out. If they had a ladder, it would’ve been useful,” Luciano said.
An important point, Luciano said, is talking to your kids about what to do if there is a fire.
“Don’t try to get pets, don’t try to get parents, don’t try to get brothers and sisters, get out yourself. The quicker you can get out before the fire has time to grow, the more of a chance you will have to survive,” he told 8News in an interview Monday.
Luciano told 8News the fire department has already seen an increase in people asking the department to install smoke alarms for them, something they saw an increase in after the Glass Road fire as well.
Causes of all three fires this week have not been determined. Richmond and Chesterfield fire departments are still investigating.