The City of Madison Common Council unanimously passed a new smoke alarm ordinance in March 2009. The ordinance was named in memory of Peter Talen. Peter was 23 when he died in a fire at 123 North Bedford on November 18, 2007. There was only one working smoke alarm in the two-story house; others has been dismantled. He was one of five people to die in fires in Madison that year.
Peter had been a student at UW-La Crosse. He was visiting his brother, a UW-Madison student, for the weekend. Peter’s family and friends have worked tirelessly to advocate for fire safety and increase public awareness of the importance of working smoke alarms.
Peter’s Story is part of their effort to remember Peter, and to reach out to young people with lessons learned from their experience. The documentary was written and directed by Jim Jorstad, and produced by Jorstad's unit, Academic Technology Services. Additional videos can be seen on Jim Jorstad's YouTube channel.