Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 2:26am
City of Madison Firefighters used a ladder to rescue a woman from a downtown apartment fire early this morning. She was awakened by the smoke alarms in her apartment and discovered heavy smoke outside her bedroom when she opened the door. The resident then went to a window and called 911. The communicator at the 911 Center advised her to close the bedroom door to keep the smoke and heat out of the room.
Fire units were sent to 11 W. Gilman Street at 3:04 a.m. and arrived four minutes later. Ladder 1 immediately raised a ground ladder to the window, pulled the woman out, and carried her safely to the ground. She was checked by paramedics and was not transported to the hospital.
A crew from Engine 1 entered the fire apartment and reported that heavy black smoke was banked down to the floor. They discovered a fire in the basement and pulled a hose down the stairs to extinguish the flames. Engine 1 and Ladder 1 performed searches of each apartment to confirm that everyone was out of the building and Ladder 6 ventilated smoke from the fire apartment.
Two occupants of the adjacent apartment in the three-unit building heard the smoke alarms and escaped without any injuries. Several other people who live in the building were not home at the time of the fire. Fire and smoke damage was limited to the apartment where the fire originated.
The property owner is relocating the occupants of the damaged apartment to another building while repairs are made.
Fire investigators report that the fire started in the basement, but the cause is still under investigation. Damages are estimated at $50,000.
City of Madison Firefighters credit several factors for this successful rescue including:
• Functioning smoke alarms that meet the city's ordinance warned the occupants of the fire.
• 911 Center communicators provided instructions to close the door. This simple act stopped the smoke and heat from entering the bedroom and protected the occupant.
• Firefighters arrived within four minutes to make a quick rescue and extinguish the fire.
Make your home safe by taking these simple steps:
• Have working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside the bedroom door, and on each level of the home.
• Test your smoke alarms each month.
• Make a home escape plan and practice it by having a home fire drill with everyone in your home.
• IF THE ALARM SOUNDS...
o If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for any reason.
o If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
o Call the fire department from outside your home.
- Eric Dahl, 608-261-9845