MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Two lives were tragically lost over the weekend in Muscle Shoals, the victims of a house fire.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the blaze which claimed the lives of 95-year-old Marcel Carney and her grandson 54-year-old Kirk Burcham. From this tragedy, a new initiative is being created within the Muscle Shoals Fire Department.

The statistics are troubling in today’s age. Of all the fire calls responded to in Muscle Shoals, roughly one in three do not have a working smoke detector. Those are numbers from Muscle Shoals Fire Inspector Brian Stafford.

“The price of detectors is far minute compared to the price of a life, which is incomparable,” Stafford said.

Beginning this week, firefighters who are dispatched to a non-emergency call at a residence will check for working smoke detectors. Most of the non-emergency calls they receive are medical in nature. Which puts them in contact with those most at risk for fires.

“Deaths are usually between 40 and 80 years old,” explained Stafford.

Under the new policy, fire fighters will check first and foremost to see if the home does have a smoke detector. If it does, they will make sure the batteries are working and operational. And if the home doesn’t have one, a smoke detector will be provided and installed.

“We can’t prevent everything, but we know life is precious,” stated Stafford. “The more we can put out there, the more we can help prevent, the better.”

A free smoke alarm initiative has been organized by state agencies to provide a working smoke detector in every home state-wide which requests them. More fire prevention information can be found on the Muscle Shoals Fire Department website.