There’s the report of another fire death in northeast Iowa today as the fire death toll in the new year was already at 13. Assistant state Fire Marshal Jeff Quigel says at this time last year the death toll was at seven, so they are "very concerned."
Quigle says some of the fire deaths can be attributed to people improperly using alternative heat sources during the bitterly cold stretch in January. Quigle says you want to make sure any type of supplemental heating device is working properly and that you leave at least three feet around the device. He says you should also not use the device at night while you are sleeping and can’t keep an eye on it.
Quigle says working smoke detectors are an important safety device that could have helped reduce some of the deaths. Quigle says the Fire Marshal’s office has conducted 12 of the 13 investigations into the fires and found only three where people died with a working smoke detector, and the others the smoke detector was not working, or was damaged enough that they couldn’t tell if it had been working.
Quigle says they recommend having a smoke detector on every level of your house. He says "it’s imperative" that you have a smoke detector in each sleeping room and that you test the batteries and replace them at least once a year. Quigle says you should also look around your home to see if there are ways you can reduce a fire risk and set up an evacuation plan in the event of a fire.
Clayton County officials say the body of an elderly man was found inside a burned garage this morning. The man has not been identified and the fire marshal’s office will investigate the cause of the fire.