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Lack of alarms a common theme in 6 January fire fatalities in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Fire Department sent a warning Tuesday after a sixth person died in a fire in January.

Fire authorities in the 12 months of 2022 recorded six deaths.

The fire department leaders say, in most of this January’s fatal fires, no smoke alarms were working.

The most recent deadly fire happened Tuesday morning on the city’s east side. Firefighters say a woman was rescued, but later died at Eskenazi Hospital. Her dog also died in the fire. Investigators say the house had no working smoke alarms.

In a Jan. 17 fire on the city’s northwest side, one man died at the scene.

On Jan. 9, an apartment fire resulted in the deaths of two toddlers and a 31-year-old man.

On Jan. 7, a fire on the east side resulted in the death of a 70-year-old man.

Firefighters want to remind everyone that homes are required to have one 10-year, sealed-battery smoke alarm per floor.

Michael Beard, a fire marshal and division chief at the Indianapolis Fire Department, told News 8, “It’s causing concern. We want to make sure people are safe. We want to make sure people can do what they need to do to get out of their homes in case of an emergency like a fire.”

About the recent fire deaths, Beard said, “It’s unusual. I don’t recall of a time when we have had this many fatalities in a one-month period, especially starting the year out, so it is making us want to use the media to get this message out any avenue that we can to get the message out. Smoke alarms save lives. Please install them in your home.”

The fire department also wants to remind people that the National Fire Protection Association recommends one smoke alarm outside each sleeping room.

If requested by filling out a form, the Indianapolis Fire Department will install a 10-year, sealed lithium battery smoke alarm in local homes. To pick up a smoke alarm to install, visit downtown’s Indianapolis Fire Department Headquarters at 955 Fort Wayne Ave.

News release

“The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) is and has been committed to the education and safety of those we serve within the IFD service district.  The IFD has longstanding education and safety programs in place to assist our residents in maintaining a fire-safe environment inside their homes.  These programs include smoke alarm installation, blitzes, safety festivals, and other fire and life safety initiatives.

“The IFD believes that 1 fire fatality in our district is 1 too many.  The fact that we have had 6 fire fatalities in one month, 5 of those with no working smoke alarm, is very concerning to us.

“If you live in the IFD service district and need a smoke alarm – please use the following link to request one. Per the city ordinance passed in April 2014, each home is required to have 1 10-year sealed battery smoke alarm per floor. The NFPA recommends 1 smoke alarm outside each sleeping room as well.

“If requested, the IFD will install a 10-year sealed lithium battery smoke alarm.”

Rita Reith, battalion chief-media relations, Indianapolis Fire Department