Dubuque family encourages others to install smoke detectors afte - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque family encourages others to install smoke detectors after fire

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When a fire breaks out you have as little as two minutes to get out of your house before it could be to late. Saturday wrapped up National Fire Prevention week and firefighters in Dubuque spent the day installing free smoke alarms in the Terrace Heights neighborhood in Dubuque.

Crystal Smith lives in the neighborhood and knows first hand the importance of having a smoke detector. On October 4, Smith's house caught on fire from a gas leak and an open match.

She said her husband was trying to light the furnace when he could smell smoke coming from the bathroom. Although her house does not look like it's fire damaged on the outside, the inside contains smoke damage. She said the family plans to tear it down.

"We've been pulling everything out of here, cleaning everything up and going through to see what is damaged and what we can save," said Smith.

Smith said although her house did have smoke detectors, they did not work.

"So if (the fire) would have happened in the middle of the night we wouldn't have been alerted to it. I guess I never thought it was an issue, never worried about it. Now I see why they should be there. So (the fire) could have been much worse," said Smith.

While Smith and her family spent Saturday cleaning out their house, Dubuque firefighters approached neighbors about installing a free smoke detector. The department partnered with the American Red Cross in a new Red Cross initiative to decrease the amount of deaths during a disaster.

"We know that this is a very preventable death by fires in single family homes. It's very preventable and by installing free smoke detectors we can help move that needle," said Jolene Carpenter, of the American Red Cross.

The Dubuque Fire Department installed more than 200 smoke detectors on the Terrace Heights neighborhood on Saturday. Firefighters said a smoke alarm should be placed on every level of a home, inside bedrooms and outside of sleeping areas.

They also said families should have an escape plan in case a fire does break out. Smoke detectors should also be checked at least once a month to make sure they are in working order. Smoke detectors should also be replaced every 10 years.

In the Tri-States, the American Red Cross responds to an average of 35 home fires a year.

If you are interested in helping donate to the Smith family contact Dubuque organization ResourcesUnite or click here for the organizations Facebook page or contact the American Red Cross.

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