PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A community is still in shock after Wednesday's horrific fire that claimed 5 lives, 4 of which were children in Pike County. Fire officials want to make sure people are prepared and know what to do in the event of a fire. They hope to prevent tragedies like this one from happening again.
Officials are still reeling from the scene that played out on Wednesday as President of the Pike County Firefighters Association, Randy Courtney explains, "it is always hard when you lose a life especially when it is children, its even worse."
Officials say having an evacuation plan and practicing that plan with children is key. "It is very vital that they know how to get out of their house, several ways, not just through the door," says Courtney.
If you are using a space heater officials say to keep all furniture and items at least 3 feet away from the heater. Make sure the heater is clear from any clothing, bedding, or any other material.
According to officials the most important component of fire safety is smoke detectors. Courtney says, "Smoke detectors are the means for early address and early notification you've got to have them." Unfortunately, family members say the Wilfong's home did not have working smoke detectors. City of Pikeville Fire Marshall, Eddie Greenhill says, "You should check smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries once a year."
Officials hope they can spare others from the reality of how short life can be. Courtney says, "We never want to see a tragedy like that, but you know that is what we are here for is to help."
Greenhill wants everyone to know they can reach out to fire officials if they have questions or concerns about fire safety and prevention. Courtney says, " I don't know of any fire department in Pike County, Floyd County, that would not bend over backwards to help them put in or get a working smoke detector."
Officials encourage anyone without working smoke detectors to contact their local fire department.