NEW ORLEANS, La. - Authorities continue their investigation into what caused a house fire that killed 8-year-old twin sisters. The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Sunday on the 2300 block of Lafayette Street in Gretna.
The twins, who neighbors say were visually impaired, died in the fire. A grandmother and two other young children managed to escape.
"It's such a tragedy to see people lose everything they own and sometimes people lose their lives," New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent, Timothy McConnell said.
These girls are among the victims who unfortunately lost their lives in a fire over the past few months. In September, 1-year-old Aa'Myrie Fontenberry died in a Birch Street home when flames erupted as she was sleeping.
Investigators haven't released an official cause to the fire that happened in Gretna over the weekend, but say there are things you can do to better protect yourself in case a fire were to happen.
"The odds of someone dying when they don't have a smoke alarm increase dramatically," McConnell said.
It's unclear if smoke alarms were present in either incident, however, McConnell says now is the time for people to check theirs.
"Make sure it works once a month," he said. "You should be testing it, hitting that button, letting it sound its alert and make sure it's operational."
If you don't have one, McConnell says it's easy to get one. An annual program with the New Orleans Fire Department lets officers set it all up for free. In some cases, the smoke alarms are at no cost to whoever needs it.
"In the fire department here, we install 10-year smoke alarms," he said.
It's a small act, officers say is important because ultimately it can possibly save a life.
"I always talk about the firefighters, they have to be at their best when it's probably the worst day in someone's life," he said. "But it can be minimized by people doing what they can to benefit themselves. Having a working smoke alarm is so critical."
With temperatures starting to cool down, McConnell also says it's especially important for people to check their monoxide detectors as well. Those should be checked, once a week.
Go here for more information on how you can get set up with a smoke alarm from the NOFD. You can also call 658-4714.