The Ottumwa Courier

May 13, 2013

Smoke alarms credited with saving lives

CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The importance of working smoke detectors was evident after a fire destroyed an Ottumwa family's home on Friday.

Four adults and three children were uninjured in a blaze that ruined their home at 621 S. Sheridan Ave. at 5:51 p.m. Friday.

Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge said the house is "pretty much a total loss."

"It came in as a living room on fire and when we got there the whole first floor was on fire," Benge said.

One tenant suffered from slight smoke inhalation while trying to extinguish the fire and get everyone out of the house safely, but he did not go to the hospital, Benge said.

"It started in the area of an electric chair," Benge said. "But it's burnt so bad ... it's going to go down as 'undetermined' for a cause."

Hopefully this fire is evidence that the Ottumwa Fire Department is getting the word out about the importance of smoke detectors, Benge said. In a string of several structure fires the department has been called to in the past month, this was the first fire where the home had a working smoke detector, he said.

"We hate to see fires in the first place, but if we're going to have one we'd like to see working smoke detectors," he said.