The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 8, 2013

Volunteers, firefighters to outfit Ottumwa homes with smoke alarms

OTTUMWA — One of the biggest dangers in homes across the city is an absence of working smoke alarms, contributing to a record 30 structure fires so far this year.

A new project next month will tackle that issue head-on. The American Red Cross Southern Prairie Chapter, American Red Cross of Greater Iowa Ottumwa Fire Department, United Way of Wapello County and the city have partnered to install smoke alarms in up to 300 homes on Sept. 11.

The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant for the project, which will help purchase 375 dual-sensor smoke alarms with a 10-year lithium battery. This project isn’t new to Iowa. A similar event canvassed Centerville last fall and after the death of a young woman and three children in Lake City in November, the community rallied around the effort to protect their families and homes with smoke alarms.

“We went door to door in the community as a blitz effort,” said Dan Cataldi, American Red Cross of Greater Iowa state response officer.

Brandon Holstrom, Red Cross’ response coordinator in Ottumwa, said if the project is successful, ORLF has said it wants to fund similar projects in the future.

“The goal is not just to put one in a home, it’s to make sure they’re fully operational,” Cataldi said.

Ottumwa has been plagued by structure fires this year — 30, to be exact. That’s a record high, said Fire Chief Tony Miller. But only one house had a working smoke alarm. Thankfully, there have been zero fatalities.

“It’s a tragedy waiting to happen,” said City Attorney Joni Keith.

In 2012, there were 42 fire fatalities in Iowa, according to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office. In the majority of the fires, either there were no smoke alarms or they weren’t working. In that same year, 217 lives were saved by properly working smoke alarms.

Text Only
Local News
  • Graham's presentation A sweet history lesson OTTUMWA — In one of the most popular monthly presentations the Wapello County Historical Society has ever hosted, it was standing-room only to hear the history of Graham Milk and Ice Cream Company and try some of the popular product. A landmark in Ot

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Ready, set, shop! OTTUMWA — Iowa's government says businesses must participate in the Tax-Free Weekend this Friday and Saturday. Store manager Greg Martin isn't complaining. "It’ll be much busier [than typical weekends]. Back to school is the second busiest season nex

    July 31, 2014

  • LCL scholarship recipients Supporting the health care future of the community OTTUMWA — For several area college students, Thursday afternoon was a chance to put names and faces with the thousands of scholarship dollars they have just received. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation hosted a reception to honor the 25 college s

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0801 OTT DMV new building exterior -M Ottumwa's DMV station ready to move OTTUMWA — If you believe you'll need to visit the driver's license station next month, you may want to write this down: 2849 N. Court St., Suite B. That'll be the new address for the Iowa DMV's office, which is currently located across from the Fairf

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0801 OTT Five Things logo -L T Five things to do in southeast Iowa OTTUMWA — Celebrate summer in a variety of ways and in several communities this weekend. Many towns are holding festivals, shows and events all centered around the summer theme, so head out while it's warm. 1. "Summer Shorts" is the Davis County Play

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

Photo reprints