Watertown dad pushes for fire safety changes to save ‘One Innocent Life’

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WATERTOWN - A Watertown father is on a mission to get young adults to protect themselves from the dangers of fire.

Jeff Block recently started a non-profit organization called “One Innocent Life.” It is getting a lot attention from fire officials across statewide.

“We try to reach out to our targets, typically elementary and pre-school and elderly," said Hamden Fire Chief David Berardesca. "Jeff targets the in-between people who should know better.”

Berardesca is talking about the age group 18-28.

In 2012, Block’s daughter, 21-year-old Eva Block of Woodbridge, along with two of her friends, were killed in a fire. She was attending Marist College in New York and living in off-campus housing. There was no working sprinkler system, but there were working smoke detectors.

“They were going off, but when were they going off is my question,” said Block.

Just last year, Block pushed for legislation here in Connecticut.

“All landlords of any residential property must notify the tenant in a lease in 12 point font whether there's an operative or inoperative sprinkler system,” said Block.

“I would love to see code changed for sprinklers in every home,” said Berardesca.

Right now, Berardesca and Block want people to know the difference between the two types of smoke detectors.

“We recommend the photo electric smoke detector because it's more responsive to a smoldering fire and that's the dangerous fire especially at night that creeps up on you," Berardesca said. "The ionization detector in some cases can take up to 15 minutes longer to activate. “

Block found out while speaking to large groups of students that they really don't think much about fire safety. He asked them how to get his message across. They, of course, said through social media. To date, One Innocent Life's Facebook page has over 7,000 followers.

Block is also getting the word out about One Innocent Life's 5k and kick off event on June 18 at Amity High School.