DAYTON, Tenn. - For B.J. Tiller, 78, the fire department's installation of free smoke alarms has meant a newfound peace of mind.
"I had no idea" that the fire department would do that for free, Tiller said. "I think it's a really good thing."
Tiller said she and her mother, 94-year-old Ann Ward, are deep sleepers and now can feel more secure in the event of a fire inside their lakefront home off Highway 30.
The constant beeping of an alarm in her upstairs hallway had prompted Tiller to call the fire department. She told fire officials that she had no fire, but that she couldn't reach the detectors to stop the noise.
Firefighters quieted the alarm and discovered that Tiller and Ward had at least two more nonworking alarms, and they did not have one near their bedrooms.
Fire Chief Chuck Suttles said that since 2011 the department has received 400 smoke detectors to distribute in the city. The state fire marshal's office received federal grant money to buy the alarms, he said.
Rhea County fire Chief Jacky Reavley said that he had a minimal number of alarms remaining.
"Everybody needs smoke detectors," Reavley said, whether they're free or purchased.
Suttles encouraged residents to check their smoke detectors regularly to ensure they're working properly.
Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.