100k donation and fire simulation to help prevent fires in Central Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. --  The Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania received a check for $100,000. Now, the agency is partnering with a local community college to prevent fires. That meant simulating a home fire scenario.

Firefighters at Central Pennsylvania Community College (HACC) demonstrated how quickly a fire can spread in a home and how dangerous fires can be. It's why UGI Utilities says they donated $100,000 to the Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania to install smoke detectors and spread awareness across the area.

Wicked flames and debilitating smoke - that's what the State Fire Commissioner says firefighters deal with when they're called to home fires. They simulated one at the HACC to show the effects.

"Thousands of degrees which an individual cannot withstand. You would not be able to be in that atmosphere because the smoke is so thick," said Tim Solobay, the Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner.

In a FOX 43 exclusive, we witnessed that smoke firsthand. It's why UGI Utilities, which provides gas and electricity to homes in Pennsylvania, gave the Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania $100,000  to help with their Home Fire Campaign.

"The campaign is designed to support preparedness by installing smoke alarms in vulnerable neighborhoods. It is in support of recovery from the folks impacted by fire, and of course, response," said Jeri Sims, The Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania CEO.

"For the last three years, we've given significant donations to the Red Cross to support programs that we really believe are critically important, the fire prevention and preparedness program," said Robert Beard, the CEO of UGI Utilities.

The donation will help the Red Cross purchase and install smoke detectors throughout Central Pennsylvania to prevent these fires, and it will go towards responding to house fires and the assistance required after flames devour homes.

The Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania says out of all calls, they respond the most to fires. The National Fire Protection Association says 7 people die a day from home fires like the ones simulated here.

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