Focusing on Fire Safety at Mifflin St. Block Party

April 30, 2010

Special Concern for Upholstered Furniture on Porches

With plans in full swing for the Mifflin St. block party, the City of Madison Fire Department is reminding residents to take special precautions before, during, and after the party.

Fire officers briefed neighborhood residents in a meeting earlier this week.

Among the concerns are couches and other upholstered furniture on porches of student housing.

Earlier this week, firefighters doused another porch fire, this one at 418 W Main St. The fire was started in a couch that was burning against the brick wall of the building. The fire had caused enough heat to break a window directly above the couch and filled the home with heavy smoke. No one was injured in that incident, but that is not always the case.

Earlier this month, a similar fire in Ann Arbor, Michigan involving a couch, trash and other combustibles on the front porch claimed the life of a student at Eastern Michigan University. Madison had its own example in 2007, when 23-year-old Peter Talen died in off-campus housing on N. Bedford street. The fire started in a couch on the front porch of the house.

The Department will assign two inspectors for this weekend's event to monitor beer gardens and house parties. An additional ambulance has also been assigned to the downtown area.

The City of Madison Department offers these reminders for a safer event:
•Do a home inspection sweep of your house or apartment before the festivities begin.
•Check to make sure all smoke alarms are in good working condition, monitor them throughout the event to ensure they have not been disabled.
•Keep a clear path to all exits to facilitate easy evacuation in case of an emergency
•If there will be smoking on the property, provide non-combustible containers, preferably with water to discard and douse any cigarettes.
•Before turning in for the night, check through the residence again, paying special attention to upholstered furniture to make sure there are no fire hazards present.

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947