By  John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Fire Department today got an early Christmas present that could be life-saving news for thousands of families around the city.

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The presentation of a mock check today from the Insurance Society of Philadelphia traces back to the society’s awards luncheon in June, when text messages sent to a “pledge wall” and a little public one-upmanship filled their treasure chest.

“We have the Insurance Society of Philadelphia that has raised over $59,000,” Philadelphia fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers said today.  “This is not something that we get every day.  Last year they had over $45,000 for us.”

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This year’s donation will provide, over the next three to four months, smoke alarms (with ten-year batteries) for more than 3,900 homes.

Insurance Society president Russell Shaner (second from left in photo) says his group is thrilled to be able to help save lives.

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