Local News

No batteries in smoke detector where child died in fire

Posted March 25, 2009

— A smoke detector in a duplex where a 3-year-old girl died in a fire Sunday night didn't work because it had no batteries, authorities said Wednesday.

Nevaeh Pratt died when a fire swept through a duplex off Murchison Road. Her father, Kenneth Pratt, remains in critical condition at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, with third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body.

Investigators said the fire started in the kitchen, but they haven't yet pinpointed a cause. Relatives have said they think a faulty stove was to blame.

Commander Ron Lewis of the Fayetteville Fire Department said a smoke detector in the duplex had no batteries. State law requires that rental properties have working smoke alarms.


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  • Sessy V--V Mar 26, 2009

    Sad story.

    Reminded me to call my friend NOW and get them to replace the battery in the alarm that was chirping at thier house.

  • Firegal Mar 26, 2009

    a good rule to remember is always change your batteries with the change in daylight saving time. a new battery when you spring forward and fall back should keep it fresh and churp free!

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Mar 26, 2009

    I have witnessed people take out batteries because they are tired of the chirping, but dont have an extra to put back in. Most of the time, they do not put the detector back on the wall, because they may forget they need a battery.
    Where I live, the detectors are wired into the unit, and I guess have a backup battery? I have never had to changed one out, so never a need to take it down.

  • lovecarolinagutters Mar 26, 2009

    RIP Nevaeh. Praying for all involved in this tragedy.

  • AtALost Mar 26, 2009

    Sad that some people don't know that a working smoke detector should have a light on it and be tested periodically.

  • Firefox 384 Mar 26, 2009

    Fuquay Resident:
    When Smoke Detectors first came out the voltage required a very special battery looked like a small hot dog (12.5 volt) I believe. The replacement battery was almost as much as the unit and hard to aquire. Units to today use the rectangle (9vt) unit. These batterys are not used in any current radios, mp3's, etc ( they use 1.5 AA & AAA) So the residents are not taking them for other uses. The smoke detector must give a 30day chirp warning when the battery is near expiring. The battery does not choose the time it as luck would have it it happens in the AM sleeping hours. Here in Fayetteville the fire department give any resident a free smokle detector and install it if they are home bound ( Senior or disabled) FREE and give out FREE batterys thanks to their hard work it is impossible to tell the number of lives they have saved. Where the detectors have activated with time to turn off the stove or correct the hazard. Thoughts and prayers for the family and Mr. & Miss Pla

  • GoGreen Mar 25, 2009

    This is one reason why smoke detectors that are powered by an AC power source with a DC (battery) backup are better.

  • Adelinthe Mar 25, 2009

    Can't point blame here cause we just don't know what happened.

    Poor little girl.

    Praying for her loved ones.

    God bless.


  • redwarrior Mar 25, 2009

    What a shame.

  • Fuquay Resident Mar 25, 2009

    I know it would be easy to blame the landlord for there not bing working batteries in the smoke detector, but oftem times the tenant removes the battery to silence the smoke detector or because they need the battery in something else. Maybe smoke detector manufacturers should make them to use uncommon batteries so that people won't take them out to use in something else.