Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 1:16pm
An electric wheelchair in for repairs was destroyed after a fire in a repair shop at Home Health United on the City's west site this afternoon. Investigators believe the fire started when a wire from the wheelchair battery came into contact with some cleaning solution.
City of Madison firefighters were dispatched to 4639 Hammersley Road for a report of a structure fire. Engine Company 9 arrived first to find the wheelchair on fire in a workshop at the rear of the building. The crew advanced a hose line and had the fire out within minutes of their arrival. They removed the chair from the building and opened doors for ventilation.
Occupants evacuated the building on their own. The building also houses Upper Iowa University, but no classes were in session. There were no injuries. The wheelchair was valued at between $4,000 & $5,000. Smoke damage to the building and its contents could raise the damage estimate to $8,000.
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
*Smoke and heat can quickly spread - Take any indication of smoke, fire or other potentially threatening situation seriously. *Learn and practice your building evacuation plan.
*Never lock fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways.
*Fire doors provide a way out during the fire and slow the spread of fire and smoke. Never prop stairway or other fire doors open. *Learn the sound of your building's fire alarm and post emergency numbers near all telephones.
*Make sure nothing blocks fire safety systems; promptly report any sign of damage or malfunction Activate fire alarms as you exit the building
*Do not assume anyone else has already called the fire department.
*The 911 communicator will ask questions regarding the emergency. Stay calm and give the dispatcher the information they request.
*Once you are out of the building, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.
*Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building. Only enter when the fire department tells you it is safe to do so.
- Lori Wirth, 608-266-5947