The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

May 13, 2013

Savoring sweets to save lives

Ice cream social raises money to install smoke detectors in area homes

(Continued)

OTTUMWA —

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.

So far, the department has handed out or installed 278 smoke detectors in homes in Wapello County. Those who need a smoke detector can contact the department at 641-683-0666.

Eighth-grader Damerval said before the fundraiser even began Monday afternoon, the council had raised $400 through ticket sales at school. The council's goal was to raise more than $1,000 Monday night or "as much as we can," she said.

To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.

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