Two Commack parents who lost their daughter ina college apartment blaze are turning to local residents to help them raise funds to kick start a fire sprinkler awareness campaign.
Robert and Maryanne Fitzsimons, parents of late Commack graduate Kerry Rose Fitzsimons, will host a Fire Sprinkler Fundraiser this Friday, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., at the IBEW Local 25 Hall on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge. The Commack parents are hoping to raise money to help fund their fire sprinkler awareness campaign.
"We know we are going to need some money to fund this cause. We have to bring awareness to parents and students who are going off to college and universities so they don't get into a dangerous predicament," Robert said.
In her memory, her parents have formed the Kerry Rose Foundation, a not-for-profit that aims to increase college fire safety awareness issues with the emphasis of the importance of having fire sprinklers in both on-campus and off-campus housing, according to its Facebook page.
"My daughter's passing was needless. Her and her friends, I can't even believe their gone," Robert said.
Friday night's fundraiser will feature food, drinks, music, dancing, a chineese auction and 50/50 raffle in effort to raise fund to bring the Kerry Rose Foundation's message to local colleges and universities this fall, her father said. Suggested donation is $40 per person.
Items to be auctioned off including a keyboard signed by Long Island's singer and songwriter Billy Joel, as well as a guitars signed by Billy Joel and Van Halen. Baskets will feature items such as Coach handbags, Mets tickets and Yankees tickets for sports fans.
Robert said he and his wife have already begun reaching out to local colleges and universities to expand their awareness campaign.
"We've touched base with the University of Albany. All of the colleges know that there's an issue. There's just not enough on-campus beds for remote kids," he said.
The Fitzsimons have started an online petition, at Change.org, asking people to show their support to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to require fire sprinklers in all on-campus and off-campus housing for college students. As of May 30, more than 2,400 have signed the petition.
The family is also championing the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, currently before U.S. Congress, that would provide proeprty owners with a federal tax incentive to install fire sprinklers in older residential or comerical buildings. If passed, most small to medium-sized businesses would become able to fully expense the cost of retrofitting sprinklers for buildings as large as 50,000 square feet, where system can cost from $2,300 to $16,000.