Red Cross fans out across Mt. Vernon to install home smoke alarms

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MOUNT VERNON -

A major effort was underway in Mount Vernon Saturday to make city residents are are equipped with working smoke alarms.

The Red Cross was canvassing the city Saturday, installing some 500 free smoke alarms as part of a two-week nationwide effort dubbed Sound the Alarm.

The city is among the worst places in the country for fatal fires, according to the American Red Cross.

"Mount Vernon is a community where we see more fires than almost anywhere throughout Westchester," says Josh Lockwood, with the Red Cross. "Oftentimes, we go into homes and people find out their smoke alarms aren't working, don't have batteries or there aren't enough."

One apartment off of South 10th Avenue, for example, didn't have a single smoke detector until volunteers installed three -- one outside every bedroom, which is the minimum recommended by the Red Cross.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer joined in for the installation efforts on South 10th Avenue, which is only four blocks away from where he grew up.

"I grew up in this neighborhood, and I've been able to go from there to here. And I want the child who lives here to have the same opportunity," says Latimer.

Lockwood says seven Americans die every day in home fires, and in over 70 percent of those deaths, there's no smoke alarm in the home.

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