10/17/06 — Fire 'store' emphasizes safety

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Fire 'store' emphasizes safety

By Lee Williams
Published in News on October 17, 2006 1:45 PM

Dozens of residents poured into the Fire Safety Store held at Berkeley Mall last week to learn an array of fire safety tips.

Goldsboro Fire Department sponsored the seventh annual event during National Fire Prevention Week last week, Assistant Fire Chief Eric Lancaster said.

Lancaster said the purpose of National Fire Prevention Week is to commemorate the 250 people who died during the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on Oct. 9, 1871.

There are a number of myths about what started the fire, but Lancaster said he likes the one about Mrs. Catherine O'Leary's cow. Mrs. O'Leary reportedly was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lantern and set the barn on fire, which triggered the massive blaze. More than 100,000 people were left homeless.

"The purpose is to bring awareness out because we don't want it to happen again," Lancaster said.

The Fire Safety Store was started in 2000 by Goldsboro Fire Chief Bobby Greenfield, Lancaster said.

"The chief formed a Fire Safety Committee and we came up with events that could help the community," he said. "The store was one and the signs (with fire safety messages featured at fire stations) were another."

Citizens learned the importance of electrical, kitchen and heater safety and also how to use a fire extinguisher, maintain the chimney and the clothes dryer, just to name a few. Participants also learned to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch fire. Younger participants learned how to dial 9-1-1 in the event of a fire or other emergency, he said.

Children received stickers, coloring books and baseball cards that featured several Goldsboro fire trucks. And some lucky adults walked away with fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, T-shirts or other trinkets.

Lancaster said the fire prevention store takes a lot of planning and group cooperation to make it a success.

"We meet every year and we plan the store and plan out what we are going to do and it's been great," he said. "It's really no one person, it's a group effort. The Fire Safety Committee heads it up, but the firefighters help out tremendously with running it while its open."