TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Fire Department is sounding the alarm on smoke detectors, after finding the majority of house fires they respond to do not have working smoke alarms.
On March 11, a woman and her daughter narrowly escaped a fire at their south-side home thanks to a neighbor who happened to be smoking outside and saw the flames.
When TFD responded, they found the home didn't have any working smoke alarms.
It was the same story on March 20, when a fire broke out at another south-side home near 36th Street and La Cholla Boulevard.
Firefighters were able to pull the homeowner out, but he died at the hospital.
TFD has responded to more than 200 house fires since July 2016.
According to Captain Andy Skaggs, the number of homes without working fire alarms is alarming.
"You don't think about it until you need it," he said.
Now TFD is stepping up. Crews have been scouring neighborhoods to check for alarms and install new ones.
Studies show having them decreases the risk of dying in a fire by half.
Skaggs says homeowners should be replacing alarms every 10 years, as well as regularly checking that they work.
Alarms should be installed in every sleeping area and in the hallways of the home.
"The lower your alarm is, the longer it's going to take for the smoke to get down there to activate it. So really, what we want to do is go about 6-10 inches from the ceiling is the ideal location," he said.
On Saturday, TFD is planning to visit the Enchanted Hills neighborhood near 36th Street and La Cholla Boulevard where the most recent deadly fire occurred.
They'll be educating neighbors to make sure their alarms are up to par, and replacing them if needed.
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