SALISBURY, Md. - The familiar sound of a smoke detector wasn't heard during a Friday morning fire in Salisbury that claimed the lives of two people.
Salisbury fire assistant chief Bryan Records tells WMDT that they "were not able to find evidence that there was a working detector" in the Patrick Avenue home. The fire claimed the lives of 66-year-old William Holbrook Jr. and 41-year-old Mary Holbrook.
Records was on the scene Friday and told our crews that morning that his team would go door-to-door in the neighborhood to check to see if the Holbrook's neighbors needed new detectors.
The answer, he says, an overwhelming yes.
In this small neighborhood, Records says 26 homes had non-functioning alarms or no alarm at all. The assistant chief says Milford Twilley Rental Management, the property manager of Patrick Avenue homes, handed out 22 detectors.
Salisbury Fire Department installed four more, including at Tanisha Gaines' house. Gaines' house was missing a detector in her son's bedroom.
Gaines, like many on Patrick Avenue, knew the Holbrooks. She's also friends with their daughter Monica. On Monday, Gaines set up a fund to raise money for the 18-year-old who lost her parents a mere three days ago.
"Her parents were one of the first people to speak to me and I would want somebody to be there for me," said Gaines.
While at her house, we spoke with Monica.
"I just keep thinking in my head that [my parents] at home watching TV," said Holbrook. "I don't want to look at the house no more."
Holbrook says since the tragedy, her family, friends and neighbors donated shirts, shoes, a toothbrush and support.
"I really am thankful for everyone that has pulled through and got me the things I needed," said Holbrook. "It really helps a lot."
After our interview with Holbrook and Gaines, Records called and said he went with the two women over to Holbrook's home to try to dig up any lost valuables. Records says she found baby pictures and photos of her parents.
Gaines sent a text message that read: "She is so tickled won't stop talking."
Gaines set up a fund for Monica through M&T Bank called "William and Mary Holbrook Memorial Fund" for Bugsy Monica Holbrook, hoping to help raise money to help Monica pay for college and daily needs. If you would like to donate or want more information, you can contact Tanisha Gaines at (443) 235-0122.
As for smoke detectors, Salisbury Fire Department will install or change batteries in existing detectors free of charge. If you need a new detector, contact Station 16 at (410) 548-3122.
Records says that the rental agency is responsible for maintaining the detectors, but tenants need to tell their landlords if there is a problem. WMDT reached out to Milford Twilley Rental Management, but no one was available to comment.