SEATTLE - The Seattle Fire Department is providing immigrant communities with a program on how to survive a fire.
In June 2010, five members of an Ethiopian-American family were killed in a fire in Fremont. Four of the members were young children.
According to the fire department, the immigrants in the house did not know what to do in a fire. The city’s fire department wants to prevent a fatal fire from happening again.
Bill Mace of the Seattle Fire Department was at the Yesler Community Center to inform people about fire safety.
“If they’re cooking and cooking with oil or grease, if you put water on that fire, it will actually make an explosion,” said Mace.
Mace told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Deborah Horne that he helped develop a program at the Seattle Fire Department, which is based on the model that public health agencies use around the world.
“Where you train people from the community, who are familiar with the culture, familiar with the language, and you train them, in our case, we trained them on fire safety, fire prevention, the importance of smoke alarms,” Mace said.
The program has trained five people from East Africa, including Eritrea-born Michael Negrune, who has lived in Seattle since 1984.
“We trained people who speak Amharic, Tigrigna, Somali and Aroma and we started going to the community churches and community centers,” said Negrune. “The tragedy about these five kids was a wake up call.”
The Seattle Fire Department hopes to reach out to many communities.