By Krystal Fowler
---- — The Centerville Fire Department wants to remind the community about the free smoke detector program available to anyone within the department’s coverage area and also the surrounding local area. The program, which began about three years ago, gives out free smoke detectors and also checks smoke detector batteries free of charge.
The program receives smoke detectors from the state fire marshall each year. They also purchase more detectors with donations to the department. The Centerville Fire Department received about 150 smoke detectors this year to give away.
To highlight the benefits of the program, Centerville Fire Chief, Mike Bogle, shared a story of how a free smoke detector installed by the department helped avert what could have been a major disaster.
According to Bogle, on Wednesday, May 15 at approximately 11:35 p.m. Centerville Fire was dispatched to 115 1/2 W. Van Buren St. in Centerville for a report of smoke coming from an apartment.
The apartment is located on the northwest side of the Centerville Square and is one of four apartments that sit on the second floor above J&K Market and an insurance agency. This building sits in the middle of the block connected to several other buildings, all occupied by either retail, office or residential.
“Our city square is the lifeblood of our community and had this fire gone undetected it could have been devastating to the local economy,” said Bogle.
Centerville Police Department officers arrived first and made entry into the apartment and encountered heavy smoke. There was one occupant, who they were able to remove safely. The source of the smoke was discovered to be food on the stove.
Centerville Fire Department arrived on scene and confirmed that the fire was out and used positive pressure ventilation to remove the smoke from the apartment and hallway leading to the apartment. The occupant was unhurt.
According to Bogle the apartment did have a working smoke detector that did in fact activate when the incident occurred. Although the occupant of the apartment didn’t wake up when the detector activated, residents in adjoining apartments heard the detector, investigated and called 911. The smoke detector was recently installed by the fire department at the request of the neighbors, not the occupant. When approached the occupant did agree to the installation.
“The activation of this working smoke detector not only saved the life of the occupant and the residents in the adjoining apartments but also saved what could have been millions of dollars in loss to the city of Centerville,” said Bogle.
Anyone interested in receiving a smoke detector or having the batteries checked in their detector may call (641) 856-2314, visit the fire department’s website at www.centervillefire–ia.com or visit the fire department’s Facebook page to make a request.