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Red Cross smoke alarm program saves Akron man's life from burning home

Residents can call 330-535-2030 if interested
spaulding piano
Posted at 2:12 PM, Jun 30, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — With homes and businesses being at a greater risk of catching fire during the summer months, one Akron man’s life was saved because of functional smoke alarms.

Shawn Spaulding returned home on April 30 after a long day of work. While sitting on the couch, his smoke alarm sounded as a fire began behind a wall on the second floor of his home, according to the American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region.

The smoke alarm was installed a year prior by Akron firefighters through a community partnership with the Red Cross program. Lt. Joe Falkenstein and firefighter Steve Dort installed the alarm and responded to the call a year later, the organization said.

When smoke started to spread throughout the house, Spaulding called 911 and fled to safety.

“I knew it was a situation beyond my control, “ Spaulding said.

He is now one of 1,331 people whose lives have been saved since 2014 when the program began.

The Akron Fire Department arrived on scene minutes after the call. Even though there was significant damage, some of Spaulding’s most prized possessions were saved.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I lost my military records and piano,” he said.

Not only did it spare his prized possessions, but his granddaughter's toys were untouched as well. Spaulding's grandaughter Jemeara, who normally lives with him, was not home at the time of the fire.

“It saves lives,” said Spaulding. “It really does.”

To request a smoke alarm in the Akron area, residents can call 330-535-2030. For Northeast Ohio, you can visit

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