Philadelphia fire serves as grim reminder to check smoke detectors

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The deaths of 12 people in an apartment building in Philadelphia this week has put a spotlight once again on fire safety.

Eight of the 12 people killed in the fire were children. The investigation is ongoing, but fire inspectors say they found four smoke detectors that weren’t working.

It’s another reminder to make check your smoke detectors in your home monthly.

There were 107 deaths caused by fires in Michigan last year.

Lt. Bill Smith, the fire prevention inspector with the Grand Rapids Fire Department, said preventing those deaths starts with people taking responsibility for their own safety by ensuring their smoke detectors are working.

“If you think about an incipient fire, which is the first stage of a fire just starting to kick off, that smoke alarm will alert you to it, and that will help you,” Smith said. “However, if you don’t have that, fire’s going to spread, it’s going to spread rapidly. We try to get an engine on a fire scene within four minutes here in the city of Grand Rapids. We’re already behind the eight ball.”

Grand Rapids’ Residential Safety Assessment Program will check your home for fire hazards and get you a smoke alarm for free. You can sign up by calling 311.

Smoking and careless disposal of smoking items by far remains the leading cause of house fires.

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