Learning Lessons from Loss: Detroit Grandmother Pushes for Fire Safety
Lisa Lipscomb’s devastating loss inspires fire prevention education.
Lisa Lipscomb admiring her granddaughter, Abreeona
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On Thanksgiving Day, when the nation was giving gratitude with traditional turkey feasts, Lisa Lipscomb was dealing with an unimaginable tragedy, the loss of her 11-month-old granddaughter, who died in a house fire.
Her wound wide open, the 44-year-old language arts teacher for Detroit Public Schools, shared her tragedy on social media, asking others to take precautions against house fires.
With a few keyboard strokes, some phone calls and talks, she’s inspired hundreds of metro Detroiters to take steps to make their homes safer places.
How could someone in Lisa Lipscomb’s family die in a fire?
Her family is full of firefighters. Her father, Capt. Phillip Lipscomb Sr., taught in the Detroit Fire Department Training Academy. Her brother and two of her cousins are firefighters. It just didn’t make sense.
Yet on Nov. 21, the night before Thanksgiving, her 11-month-old granddaughter, Abreeona, the baby’s mother, Lisa Perkins, and their roommate died in a tragic house fire—each of them succumbing to smoke inhalation.
Lipscomb had questions.
“I asked about smoke detectors, and they told me that there were two units mounted on the bedroom walls, but both had been taken off the walls,” Lipscomb says. “One was in a kitchen drawer and the other had no batteries. They told me the one in the kitchen drawer was beeping.”
Now, Lipscomb is on a mission to save lives in Detroit, where nearly 50 people die in the more than 30,000 fires the Detroit Fire Department responds to each year.