This South Dakota Fire Department Wants to Keep You Safe From Fires – And It Won’t Cost You Anything

CANTON, S.D. – It was an early morning in April of 2004. For three young children in Canton, it was their last. Firefighters rushed to the scene a house fire on Pleasant Street, but it was anything but pleasant for this close-knit community.

“The stress of the situation being volunteers and dealing with people that they know in the community, that was a very difficult time for some of our firefighters,” said Kyle Lease, Canton Volunteer Firefighter Chief.

After that unforgettable fire, the Canton Volunteer Fire Department started giving out free smoke detectors. They’ve given out 2,500 ever since. They’ll even throw in free batteries.

”We have had some of our smoke alarms in houses that we’ve gone to for a fire and our smoke alarms that we have given them have functioned and gotten them out safely,” said Lease. “So, yes, it has made a huge difference.”

If you’re wondering who’s footing the bill – it’s not taxpayers. It’s all through private donations and a grant program through the state.  Local business owner sterling heath was on the scene of that fatal fire.

”Yeah, I was there, very devastating,” said Heath.

That’s why this former firefighter keeps it local by providing the fire department with smoke detectors for a discounted rate.

“Being that I was on the fire department for 15 years, I do kind of have a soft spot for the fire departments so we do everything that we can do here at the store,” said Heath. “So if I can help Kyle out in any way I can, that’s what I like to do.”

Every time the department gives a smoke detector away, they never know whose life it might save next.

”If you get one person out of a house that’s on fire, it’s worth every dollar,” said Lease.

The fire department recommends changing the batteries in your smoke detector every six months. Anyone can pick up a free smoke detector from Canton City Hall, the fire station, or your favorite Canton firefighter.

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