Hot Item: A Life-Saving Squawk

The ancient Romans kept geese on their Capitoline hill to cackle alarm in the event of attack by night. For modern Americans, fire is nighttime's most dreaded foe—yet relatively few households are equipped with smoke detectors, the contemporary early-warning birds.

About 7,000 people in the U.S. are killed by residential fires each year —75% of them during the night. Up to 60% of those lives might have been spared by smoke alarms, safety experts contend. Says Richard Strother, associate administrator of the Commerce Department's National Fire...

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