No Working Alarms At House Fires, Nebraska Fire Department Said

Omaha firefighters said they are shocked by a recent statistic: the sites of 13 of the last 15 house fires in the city did not have a working smoke alarm.

The department wants to change that stat. Battalion Chief Joe Fuxa wants to make more house calls. He wants his crews to walk into homes and install smoke detectors for free.

"We're going to check the battery first," Fuxa said. "(If) it's not working, if the new battery doesn't work, we'll install a new one."

A few months ago, Wendy Escobar forgot she'd left food cooking on her kitchen stove. She was in the house with her two young children.

"There was smoke all the way around the house. My 4-year-old son told me something was burning," Escobar said.

There were five smoke detectors in the house, but none of them were working, firefighters said.

Fuxa said a good rule of thumb is to check smoke detectors twice a year.

"When you set your clock forward or back, you should check your batteries," Fuxa said. "We want a working smoke detector in every house in our community. That's our goal. That's our mission."

Fuxa also wants to put carbon monoxide detectors in homes for the elderly and the needy, but he needs donations from businesses and other agencies to make that happen.

To get firefighters to make a house call at your house, call your neighborhood station and make an appointment.

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