• Rachel Ann Stalcoskie

Marshall's Story - Smoke Alarms Save Lives, But What About Your Pets When You're Not Home?

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Four animals die in Coolbaugh Twp. house fire

We all know the importance of having working detectors to alert us in case of a fire or carbon monoxide when we are home. But, what happens when you leave home?

Chances are, like many of us, work, school, shopping, extracurricular activities and events take us away from home for varying periods of time. Unfortunately, we are not always able to bring our fury family members along with us when we go out. We make sure they have enough food and water, give them a treat, pat them on the head and start our day. And unfortunately, disaster does not always wait for us to be at home to rear its ugly head.

We had met Napoleon the week before for the first time. He was very handsome and such a well-mannered little guy. Mom dropped him off for his grooming, left her styling instructions and said she would wait for our call to pick him up. When she returned to pick him up, she commented how handsome he was, scheduled her next grooming appointment, mentioned her other dog and two cats may be in the need for "pampering" in the future and left for home.

The next week, the phone rang but we were working with some other pets and were unable to answer it. The voice message that was left, broke our hearts and changed our thoughts forever on smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Betty was less than 15 minutes away from home when a small fire broke out in the kitchen. The smoke detectors were functional and working, but by the time someone saw smoke and alerted the fire department, Napoleon, Marshall, Pandora and Tony all succumbed to smoke inhalation. Fire fighters tried to resuscitate them, but it was too late.

Betty and her family wanted us to pass along their story, so other pets can be possibly saved. With technology and smart phones, precious seconds may the matter of life or death for pets at home in the event of a catastrophe.

Here is what Betty wrote us;

"On Wednesday Feb. 17, 2016 we lost 4 members of our beloved family due to a fire in the kitchen. They died due to smoke inhalation. Although we had battery powered regular smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector, it wasn't enough to have saved their lives.

I was less than 15 minutes away the entire time without knowing. If when that smoke alarm went off, I would have known, I would have rushed to the house and let them out. Allowing them a better chance of surviving. The fire department was able to get a hold of me only after the fire was out and to tell me despite their efforts to resuscitate them, they didn't make it. I want my story to be heard and to be retold because I don't want them to have died in vain. If you don't have a central alarm system, please consider it. It will contact you and your local fire dept., right away and it will give your feathered, furry or reptile family a chance.

I would appreciate any help I can get in letting the public know my story. We also started a fundraiser because unfortunately I didn't have renter's insurance. When the dust settles, I am planning on making brochures and flyers to go to animals lovers with Marshall's Story. Senator Mario Scavello also agreed to help us with this quest.

Thank you,


A GoFundme account has also been set up for the family "GoFundme - Click Here".

Once we heard what had happened, we realized that even our home was not protected enough concerning our pets. We have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but unless someone is at home, we were relying on our neighbors or a passer-by seeing a problem and alerting the Fire Dept. or Police. With today’s technology, there are many options you can choose from. From full house alarms with offsite monitoring to "smart" alarms that send messages directly to your phone when a problem is detected. You can even add wireless cameras with a smart phone app to see what is going on in your home while in the event of an emergency. We would also recommend a battery backup unit that your cable modem and wireless router is plugged into in the event of a power outage. They can be purchased at your local office supply store, computer store or online and vary in size/cost depending on your needs.

*Nest Smoke/Corbon Monoxcide Detectors Photo Courtesy of www.nest.com

*Cyber Power Battery Backup

+Surge Protector

Photo Courtesy of www.walmart.com

*ADT Home Security Services

Photo Courtesy of www.adt.com/media/home-security.html

Please share and spread the word about "Marshalls Story"

Please pass along Marshalls Story. The more people we make aware, the more pets may be saved. We also hope in looking at your own homes protection, whatever you have in place or choose to upgrade, in the event a split seconds notice, your family and your pets have the best chance they can. With our lives so hectic and busy, sometimes we forget to investigate just a little bit further from what we have, which can make all the difference in our world.

#fire #smokedetector #securitysystem #safepets #smoke #carbonmonoxide

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