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20 house fire deaths in Indiana so far in 2023 concern state fire marshal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Six people died in residential fires in Indianapolis in January.

Statewide, 20 people have died since the beginning of 2023.

In 2022, 71 people died from residential fires in Indiana.

Indiana State Fire Marshal Stephen Jones told News 8 on Friday, “You don’t realize how it important it is until it happens to you. We tell people you only have two minutes to get out of a home in today’s construction.”

Jones blames the lack of smoke detector usage for many of the house fire fatalities. State law requires homes to have working smoke detectors on each floor. Batteries should be changed twice a year.

The fire marshal said, “Thirty years ago, wood was used in construction, and now we have a lot of what we call ‘laminated woods.’ It’s pressed wood, glued, and it doesn’t hold up as long whenever its on fire.”

Jones urges homeowners to clean out their chimneys before it gets cold each year and to have a ladder handy to help your family evacuate safely.

“I spent two weekends, two homes, with seven people in them had died, and there are toys in the yard and no kids to play with them anymore and that touches me,” Jones said.

The Indianapolis Fire Department can help residents install home smoke detectors, or give residents new detectors for free if they can’t afford them.