CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)–Joy Sheehan knows how important it is to make sure every home has one. Three years ago she lost her son Christian Sheehan in a house fire. There was no evidence of a working smoke alarm in the home where her son died. She didn’t want other families to go through what she did so she started a Smoke Alarm Blitz. Over the last two years, she’s helped put in hundreds of alarms.
“Chief always starts our events saying he has no doubt a life will be saved,” said Sheehan. With help from volunteers and the Champaign Fire Department they did just that. This home caught fire Tuesday afternoon. A husband, wife, and a dog were inside. “The gentleman that was in the home told me that when the smoke alarms went off they had smoke in the kitchen and he went outside and saw the garage was completely consumed in flames, and it was spreading to the home. It was a very rapidly moving fire,” said Gary Ludwig of the Champaign Fire Department.
By the time the crews got there, the whole home was in flames. The family and the dog made it out, thanks to nine fire alarms put up by a Smoke Alarm Blitz team in April. “If they had not heard the smoke alarms, chances are there’s a possibility that the fire might have spread and blocked one of their exits to get out,” said Ludwig. A smoke alarm saved them because the Sheehan family was able to take their grief and turn it into a mission to help others. “To our family it brings good out of bad, and it makes us feel like we’re doing something good that I know our boy would love,” said Sheehan.
Since 2017 the Smoke Alarm Blitz team has installed over 800 smoke alarms. For more information about how you can donate or volunteer, contact the Christian Sheehan Foundation.