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Published August 13, 2013, 09:33 PM

Hawley Fire Department hopes to raise awareness following fatal fire

Hawley, MN (WDAY TV) - In a flash, flames can erupt and a house can go up in smoke. That's why the Hawley Fire Department is planning an awareness class next week hoping to prevent tragedies like the fire which killed 15 year-old Rylie Efterfield.

Hawley, MN (WDAY TV) - In a flash, flames can erupt and a house can go up in smoke. That's why the Hawley Fire Department is planning an awareness class next week hoping to prevent tragedies like the fire which killed 15 year-old Rylie Efterfield.

Tonight, I spoke with three girls who knew Rylie very well. They told me that to watch their best friend's house explode in a blaze was so hard because they were helpless. But the Hawley Fire Department is aiming to change that mindset. There is something everyone can do and that includes prevention.

Malia Bortnem - Lost Friend in Fire: "She smiled a lot and she was really, really funny."

Over many years we're taught that timing is everything.

Malia Bortnem: "You could tell her anything, and you could trust that she wouldn't tell anyone."

For these teens, it was a lesson they'd learn late at night when many memories were lit up in only seconds when, after hours of fighting, firemen, family and friends couldn't do anything more.

Malia Bortnem:"I could barely stand up. I was just shaking like crazy."

Katie Bjorndahl - Lost Friend in Fire: "One of my good friends passed away in that house and there was nothing we could do."

Mariah Larson - Lost Friend in Fire: "It's crazy how fast it can happen."

Hawley Area Fire wants to change that.

Katie Bjorndahl: "It could happen to anyone. That's the thing that's scary."

In only the short years these girls have been alive, they already know that in the time that it takes to check an alarm it could mean the difference between life in death.

Mariah Larson: "Make sure that everything works in the house that you have."

Malia Bortnem:"Make sure every house has fire alarms, like working fire alarms."

Because it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Hawley Fire Department will hold an informational meeting next Wednesday at the high school auditorium. They'll teach different varieties of safety measures. It begins at 7 PM.

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