Investigators say it appears a fatal house fire in western Iowa early Monday morning was an accident. Seven-year-old Alex Buzzetta was killed in the fire on the northeast side of Council Bluffs. Alan Byers is chief of the Council Bluffs Fire Department.He says samples from the house are still being tested, but there’s no evidence of arson. “We have preliminarily ruled it an accidental fire.
At this point, I’m thinking it’ll be early next week before we can state a definitive cause,” Byers said. Four adults and a three-year-old girl escaped the burning home. Byers says it doesn’t appear the home had a working smoke detector. “The occupants of the house say they don’t remember (a smoke detector) being there and they don’t remember being awakened by one,” Byers said. “The structure has pretty significant damage, but at this point we don’t think there was a working detector in the house.”
The occupants of the residence were renting the home. Byers says the fire should serve as a reminder to all landlords and home owners about the importance of installing and maintaining smoke detectors.) “It’s horrific to stand there in the middle of the night…and know the great potential a smoke detector could have made in Alex’s life,” Byers said.
The Council Bluffs Fire Department recently had to discontinue a program that offered free smoke detectors to the public due to lack of funding. Byers says two local casinos agreed this week to donate $3,000 each to restart the program.
Karla James also contributed to this story.