At the beginning of March, the refugee community faced a tragedy. An infant of Somali Bantu descent died in a house fire. Friday the Utica Fire Department is trying to do their part to make sure that doesn't happen again.
The Mohawk Valley has seen a number of fires over the past month. Tragedy can strike any family regardless of culture or country of origin. And one fire in particular shocked and disturbed the refugee community.
"I am so sorry about this accident that happened to my family. But it was an accident," says Osman Osman, family member.
On Friday, the Utica Fire Department offered a class on fire safety at the Refugee Resource Center.
"Lots of things are new. People are starting to see that very simple things are complicated," says Abdel Shakour Khamis, refugee.
The class offered explained how to use 9-1-1 and what to do if someone sees fire or smells a strong odor of gas.
"This activity facilitates that people can understand the risks and be able to overcome," says Khamis.
But overall, firefighters say their goal was to explain something that is universally important to everyone in this world.
"No matter where you come from in this world the bottom line is we want to keep our families close and our families safe so if I can reiterate that to folks that come from different cultures, I think that they would understand what I’m trying to teach," says Joseph Puleo, firefighter.
The refugee center plans to offer more of these classes on a regular basis.