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Fire officials say bigger house numbers needed

October 03, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

When an automatic fire alarm sounded a few weeks ago, the Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Co. rushed to the scene.

When firefighters got to the road, however, Chief Richard M. Roche said they had trouble finding the right house. The problem? The house numbers were too small to read from the road.

"We finally got it narrowed down to the house. But with bigger numbers, there would have been no narrowing down," he said.

It is a problem Roche said he hopes to correct at the fire company's open house Sunday. Amid refreshments and demonstrations, Roche said the fire company will give away 3-inch house numbers. The open house runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 19037 Longmeadow Road.

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The event kicks of National Fire Prevention Week.

Roche said the Sept. 19 incident did not end in disaster. Firefighters lost three or four minutes, but the signal turned out to be a false alarm.

"It wasn't critical. But it could be critical, especially in the case of a medical call," he said. "It very well could mean the difference between living and dying."

A few minutes also can make a big difference in a fire, Roche said.

Roche estimated that about half of the houses in the company's coverage area have visible numbers. Homeowners often put the numbers on their mailboxes, but that is confusing in rural areas where buildings are set back from the road, he said.

Sunday's open house also will have a number of events for children, Roche said. Children's Village will sponsor a display and Sparky the Fire Dog and Smokey the Bear will make appearances.

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