News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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January 27, 2014

Family escapes morning fire; no smoke detector

TERRE HAUTE — A fire Monday morning in the 2300 block of Spruce Street destroyed a house in which no working smoke detectors were found.

Terre Haute Chief Jeff Fisher told the Tribune-Star that firefighters heard no smoke detectors going off when they arrived at the home just after 6:15 a.m.

The residents – a family of six adults and several children – were able to escape without injury.

The fire originated on the front porch of the home. Fisher said the occupants used the porch as a smoking area, and it is believed that discarded smoking material might have caused the fire. The fire spread quickly because of strong winds, Fisher said.

Acting battalion chief Jason Kane told the Tribune-Star that cold temperatures and wind were a factor in fighting the fire. A roof collapse was a concern, he said, because in cold temperatures, the water sprayed into a structure will not run off quickly. The weight of that water freezing increases the danger of a collapse, he said.

Because of the timing of the fire, firefighters who initially arrived at the scene were able to leave about 45 minutes later at a shift change, Kane said, so firefighters had some relief from the cold temperatures.

Fisher said that free smoke detectors are available at the Terre Haute Fire Department.

“There is no reason people shouldn’t have working smoke detectors in their home,” he said.

Anyone needing a smoke detector can call the fire department at 812-234-8653.

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