Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Cajun Navy installing smoke detectors, needs more volunteers

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BATON ROUGE - They rescued people from their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Great Flood of 2016 and Hurricane Harvey. Now, they're on a mission to keep people alive in a fire.

There's a huge push to get smoke detectors installed in homes across Baton Rouge after people died in a handful of fires this month. The city got the Cajun Navy to help, but the need is so high that volunteers are asking for help themselves.

This weekend is expected to be busy. The Cajun Navy is hoping to install a total of 700 smoke detectors. If you want to help, all you have to do is show up 9 a.m. Saturday at the Baton Rouge Fire Department Headquarters.

“It’s horrifying, you don't know if the whole house is on fire, what’s happening, you just want to get your family out,” Shalitha Dixon said.

Dixon has experienced two house fires herself.

“The alarm didn't go off, we just woke up and took off running,” she said.

Dixon knows the importance of a working smoke detector and requested two be installed in her home.

“It’s a blessing and really a ministry what [the Cajun Navy] is doing,” said Dixon.

She’s not the only one asking for this service.

“We've been doing it every day on a small scale,” said Todd Terrell, the founder of United Cajun Navy. “On Saturday, we're doing a big push.”

But they need more volunteers to do so.

“We should have at least 100, but we're looking for more,” said Terrell. “We will take as many as we can.”

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome is partnering with the American Red Cross, the United Cajun Navy, the Cajun Army, the Baton Rouge Fire Department, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, and faith-based organizations to install the devices.

According to a release, more than 1,000 free smoke alarms have been installed throughout the city.

To request a smoke alarm, contact the mayor's office at (225) 389-3100.


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