Deadly Bainbridge fire highlights need for smoke alarms

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department issued a statement on its Facebook page urging islanders to install and maintain home smoke alarms.

A smoke alarm might have saved the woman who died in a fire at her Bainbridge home this week. Investigators found no smoke alarms in her home.

Below is the BIFD statement.

While investigators have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of Saturday morning’s fatal fire on Washington Avenue, they have identified several factors that contributed to the incident’s devastating consequences.

The investigation revealed that the house was likely not equipped with smoke alarms, depriving the occupant of vital early warning of fire.

Investigators also believe that a large volume of personal belongings inside the small structure may have provided additional fuel for the fire and compromised the occupant’s exit routes.

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a critical role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having working smoke alarms reduces the chances of dying in a fire by half. If you or someone you know lives in a residence without smoke alarms, Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) will provide and install smoke alarms free of charge. Contact the BIFD at (206) 842-7686 to schedule an appointment.

When fire strikes, it’s too late to start developing a home fire escape plan. Officials urge residents to maintain clear escape routes and to practice finding the way out of the home, crawling or staying low to the ground, and feeling the way to safety. Make sure everyone in the home knows at least two ways to escape from each room. Select one meeting place outside so household members can quickly and accurately be accounted for. Smoke alarms provide the minutes needed to escape a fire safely. Home fire escape planning and practice ensure that everyone knows how to use that time effectively.

Some facts from the National Fire Protection Association about smoke alarm usage:

-Ninety-six percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm, according to a 2010 telephone survey. Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.

-Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths in 2005-2009 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead. Almost one-quarter of the smoke alarm failures was due to dead batteries.

Contact Assistant Chief Luke Carpenter at (206) 842-7686 for further information.

Photo: Josh Farley, Kitsap Sun

One thought on “Deadly Bainbridge fire highlights need for smoke alarms

  1. batteries in smoke detectors should be changed every time the clock is adjusted to daylight saving time or regular time.

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