Illegal Basement Bedroom Fire Kills 1 Cat
May 20, 2014
One cat died in a fire that occurred in an illegal basement bedroom. Two occupants left the home when they were alerted by smoke alarms. They escaped uninjured.
The fire broke out at 3201 Thorp Street shortly before 7:00 am in a non-compliant basement bedroom. The basement did not have a second exit for a fire escape. For example, an egress window. No one was in the basement when the fire broke out.
City of Madison Fire Captain Tom Reiter arrived on the scene, within 3 minutes of the initial fire call. Engine 3 arrived just minutes later. Captain Reiter and the fire crew from Station 3 noticed smoke coming from several windows of the home. Firefighters pulled a 1 ¾” hose line into a smoke filled basement and extinguished the fire within 10 minutes.
The following crews were dispatched: Ladder 8, Ladder 1, Medic 8, Car 31, Engine 8, Engine 5, Engine 3, Fire 5, Engine 4 and Medic 10.
The occupants were alerted by smoke alarms. The smoke alarms were not of the 10-year lithium battery tamper resistant.
The fire caused $15,000 in damage and is under investigation.
The City of Madison smoke alarm ordinance requires smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries designed to last the life of the smoke alarm.
A working smoke detector can increase a person's chances of surviving a fire by providing the extra time that is needed to safely escape. Nationally, more than 90 percent of all homes have smoke detectors, but it is estimated that one-third of those don't work because of old or missing batteries.
Under the 2009 ordinance, all smoke alarms must have a 10-year battery in a tamper-resistant alarm unit. 9-volt batteries are no longer used UNLESS they are being used as a battery back-up to a hard-wired alarm.
Please remember that smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
- Bernadette Galvez, 608-279-7168, firstname.lastname@example.org