Firefighters Hope to Prevent Tragedy with Donation from Sam’s Club 

Firefighters will tell you one of the things that frustrates them the most is when people don’t have smoke detectors in their homes. Thanks to a big donation, more than 100 people will now have detectors, and firefighters hope it helps prevent tragedy. They don’t work for the same stations, but they do their jobs for the same reasons. ” It’s just something inside that you see somebody that needs help and you want to be there to do that,” said Shellie Tourtillotte, public education officer for the Orrington Fire Department. Firefighters from Orrington, Bangor, Brewer, Holden, Eddington, and Bucksport are together to pick up fire and carbon monoxide detectors. ” I’m hoping it saves lives,” said Jane Hopkins, an assistant manager at Sam’s Club in Bangor. The donation is from Sam’s Club in Bangor, and it’s a huge help to the departments. ” They flat out save lives and give you an early warning if there is an issue. It’s proven over and over and over and over again,” said Chief Scott Lucas with the Bangor Fire Department. ” That’s your number one tool that’s going to allow you to get out of your house safely,” added Tourtillotte. Firefighters say there are lots of people who don’t have smoke detectors in their homes. ” People just think it’s not going to happen to them and everybody is so busy that they don’t even think about a detector, until unfortunately sometimes it’s too late,” said Tourtillotte. The reason these six departments are getting the donation is because they all responded to a deadly house fire in Orrington in November 2012. Ben Johnson and his three young children were killed in the blaze. Investigators say there were no working smoke detectors in the house. ” It’s something that you’ll never get over and you just hope by helping others make sure it never happens again,” said Tourtillotte. It’s been tough for the Orrington community to deal with the tragedy, and it’s hard for the firefighters, too. They’ve had stress de-briefings, but it takes more than that. ” Just coming together as a department and trying to help others, as firefighters do on a regular basis, is what really helps the most,” said Tourtillotte. Now, thanks to this donation, these six departments will come together again, to try and prevent another tragedy like the one in Orrington. Ben Johnson, who was killed in November’s fire, worked at WalMart: that’s one of the reasons Sam’s Club wanted to make this donation. Members of the Orrington Fire Department say they will go door-to-door making sure people have smoke detectors. In Bangor, Chief Lucas says that if his crews are at a house and there is no working detector, they don’t leave until they put one in. Nineteen people died in fires in Maine in 2012. If you have any questions about fire safety, call your local fire department.