KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Robert Dorsey lost his grandson in a house fire. Now, the Kansas City, Kansas, man is going door-to-door to make sure that a similar tragedy doesn't happen to another family.
Dorsey is spending nearly $1,500 out of his own pocket to buy and distribute smoke alarms across the metro area. He's doing it in memory of his 12-year-old grandson, Ja'voen Denham, who died along with his grandmother in a 2011 house fire near 57th and Yecker in Kansas City, Kansas.
Dorsey says that if that home had a smoke detector, they'd both be alive today.
"I had no idea that this was going to happen to me. When it did, it changed my life," said Dorsey.
Working with firefighters on both sides of the state line, Dorsey is spending his time checking and installing smoke detectors. He estimates that he's helped distribute around 3,500 smoke detectors that otherwise wouldn't be in place to safeguard families.
"Those 3.500 smoke detectors have been in a lot of different situations," said Dorsey. "Some smoke detectors are being distributed through the Red Cross, and yet still I was not able to save my grandson or his grandmother."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, a working smoke alarm reduces the chance of dying in a fire by half. Although nearly 75 percent of American homes have at least one working smoke alarm, nearly two-thirds of fire deaths happen in home with no working alarm, or no smoke detector period.