Last night I read about a fellow Etsyian in Charlotte, North Carolina who has suffered an unimaginable tragedy: she lost her home, pets, and worst of all, her younger son in a house fire. Every member of the family (husband and older son, and the mother) was injured, and they lost a staggering number of pets - they had 13 cats and 9 dogs (though I believe some of the cats survived). The fire is so far assumed to be accidental, and the news reports mentioned that there were no smoke alarms in the house. The way that this was reported in the local media not so subtly pointed the finger at this family for not installing these basic safety devices. I am greatly disturbed by this story; I don't know the seller personally though I know of her, and I don't even want to think about what they are going through. The younger child went back for his pets and was trapped in a bedroom; he survived initially but later died in a hospital.
There is now a shop on Big Cartel dedicated to helping this family with their expenses, if anyone reading feels like helping out. Many other Etsyians are donating pieces to the cause. Here's a link to the story.
You can also click on the Helping Hearts button in the top left corner.
**UPDATE** The Helping Hearts shop on Big Cartel closed on March 8.***
Please, please, everyone reading this, install smoke alarms in your home and talk with your family about escape plans in the event of fire. I don't know if an alarm could have helped this family; surely with that many dogs in the house, they would have started barking right away and perhaps they felt that this was enough. Smoke alarms are inexpensive, and even if you live in a large house and need half a dozen, in the kitchen, hallways, stairs and bedroom corridors, it's well worth the expense. You also must have carbon monoxide detectors, as this is a silent killer.