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7-Year-Old Dies in Milwaukee Fire; No Smoke Alarms Present

An early morning house fire in the City of Milwaukee on Saturday, February 16, has claimed the life of a 7-year-old boy. Firefighters revived him twice on the scene, but he succumbed to smoke inhalation on Sunday, February 17. Fire officials say there were no smoke alarms present in the home.

Bob Kleinheinz, regional manager for the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA-WI), says the young boy fell in the high-risk category for fire deaths, citing reports from the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which state that those at highest risk from fires include young children, the elderly and those with disabilities.

Smoke alarms are an essential part of the fire safety equation, however, some homeowners do not have them installed and many more forget to change the batteries that keep them working. Kleinheinz says that is why many new homes across the U.S. are being built with home fire sprinkler systems in addition to smoke alarms.

“Fire sprinklers work even if smoke alarms are not present or are not operational. Fire sprinklers are individually activated by heat and control or extinguish a fire in its place of origin, keeping toxic smoke and fumes from spreading and allowing homeowners to escape safely without harm,” he says. “Fire sprinklers should always be considered in addition to smoke alarms when building a new home because they save lives.”

NFPA statistics report that installing both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system in a home reduces the risk of death in a fire by 82%, relative to having neither.

In fact, home fire sprinklers are now present in national model fire and building codes from both of the major code-governing bodies, NFPA and the International Code Council. However, the State of Wisconsin has not adopted those model codes as part of its current legislation.

“We offer condolences to the family and friends of the young fire victim in Milwaukee,” adds Kleinheinz.

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