SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A deadly fire at a Springfield home last week without working smoke alarms is prompting questions.
A 61-year-old woman died because of last week’s house fire, and tragedies like these can be preventable. As the weather gets colder and seasons change, home heating become the most common cause of fires.
According to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System, 46 civilians died last year from fires, with hundreds of injuries and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage – oftentimes because of a lack of a proper smoke detector.
“Very often you’re gonna hear and find that in these fires where these people don’t make it out, oftentimes they weren’t alerted. They were simply sleeping – just didn’t have an early enough start on the fire to get out of the house, so a lot of times you’re gonna find malfunctioning or no detector at all in the home,” said West Springfield Lt. Anthony Spear. “So go to your local hardware store – Home Depot, Rocky’s, either of those places will have the detectors you’re looking for.”
Even if you already have a smoke alarm or are looking to purchase a new one, it’s important to note Massachusetts regulations. To be considered up to Massachusetts code, look for the small P on the smoke alarm. This means that the detector is photoelectric and more effective in detecting smoldering fires which have been attributed to more fires involving death. The other common type of alarm sold uses Ionization Technology. These alarms will have an I on the case, and while they work, they are less effective and not as quick in detecting lethal fires.
The West Springfield Fire Department suggests changing batteries and detectors if they’re over 10 years old. It is a must that every single household has a working smoke alarm.