Fatal fires common link: No working smoke detectors

Smoke Detectors: The difference between life and death

CLEVELAND - Fire broke out on Searsdale Avenue early Monday morning in the second floor apartment of Joan Cruz and her two sons, 9-year-old Johnneo and 8-year-old Marius.

The older boy managed to make it to the porch where he jumped into the arms of a good samaritan and neighbor Ben Slowik.  The boy suffered a broken arm in the fall. 

Slowik then ran to the back of the house where he found the mother hanging out of a window.  He moved a mattress to help break her fall.  She suffered burns to her arms and face. 

Tragically 8-year-old Marius was in a top floor bedroom and unable to be saved.  The boy was on the Autism spectrum and was just starting to communicate according to his aunt, Anais Cruz-Alvarado. 

The family suffered a double tragedy when just two hours later they learned their grandmother in Florida passed away.  Joan Cruz was supposed to fly down Monday to see her. 

All that was recovered from the apartment were Joan's cell phone and car keys.  The family says everything else was destroyed by fire.  

If you'd like to help the family, they've set up a GoFundme account.  Click HERE. 

Meanwhile the city of Cleveland Fire Department just released an educational video about the importance of working smoke detectors.  You can watch it HERE. 

If you can't afford or install a smoke detector, contact your local fire department.  Many have programs that allow them to provide and install detectors for you.  

The Red Cross also has a smoke detector program, known as Operation Save A Life.   Learn more about that HERE 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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