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Family continues awareness campaign in memory of child who died in fire

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Family continues awareness campaign in memory of child who died in fire
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Shortly after Averyana Dale, 2, died in an Auburn fire last year, her family set out on a mission: give others the knowledge they didn't have that could have saved her life. They continued those efforts Sunday with an Alarms for Averyana benefit. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us how they hope it helps the community.

AUBURN, N.Y. -- On March 10, 2012, Natalie Dale said goodbye to two of the most important people in her life: her daughter, Averyana, and her best friend, Rachel Harris-Curione.

"My daughter, if you just met her for five minutes, I mean, she lit up the room, she just had this spark about her, and Rachel was like a second mom to her," said Dale.

Averyana and Curione died of smoke inhalation when the home they were in caught fire. There were smoke alarms in the house, but they were ionization detectors. Those are the most common kind, and they're best at detecting flaming, fast moving fires.

This was a smoldering fire.

"What tends to kill people is the carbon monoxide and different poisons that are in smoke," said Lieutenant Dick Stabinsky with the Auburn Fire Dept. "Photoelectric, with the technology in there, will sense that a lot quicker than the ionization will."

Not only do these alarms look really similar, but you also have to take a close look at the fine print on the back of and inside smoke alarms, to see if they're photoelectric or ionization.

This benefit is working to raise money to hand out free photoelectric alarms to the community, and that's not the end of efforts being made in Averyana's honor. A bill known as Averyana's Law is making its way through the state's legislature that would offer tax credits to help people buy and install the devices.

Firefighters say they'd like to see legislation like that in neighboring states, which require homes to have both types of alarms.

"New York State being such a large, populous state tends to put it out there further, it'll get out and hopefully spread nationwide," said Lieutenant Stabinsky, who's also President of Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club Station 222, the group that sponsored Alarms for Averyana.

"This could've made a difference if they had a photoelectric alarm in their home, and no family should ever have to go through what my family is going through and will continue to go through," said Valerie Rivett, Averyana's aunt.

Family members say they're hopeful Averyana's Law could be passed sometime next year.

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