Fires have claimed fewer lives in Iowa this year. Iowa Department of Public Safety spokesperson Jessica Lown says 33 people have died in structure fires in Iowa in 2010.
“One death is one too many as far as we’re concerned and 33 is a lot,” Lown said. “But, when you compare it to previous years, last year we had 46 and we’ve had many years when we’ve had as many as 60 fire fatalities. So, we have to be thankful for what we can be thankful for.”
State public safety officials are hoping Iowans heed their calls for installing smoke detectors and checking them regularly to make sure they’re working. “And smoke detectors don’t last forever,” Lown said. “They need to be replaced every 10 years and the batteries should be replaced every year.”
The State Fire Marshal’s office has compiled a list of possible “lives saved” because of smoke detectors this year. Lown says at least 146 Iowans escaped serious injury or death in a fire because of a working smoke detector. The latest Iowa fire fatality occurred this week in the Taylor County town of Blockton.
A 74-year-old man died Monday morning when his mobile home went up in flames. The extent of damage forced investigators to list the cause as “undetermined,” but the victim was using at least eight space heaters to heat the home and officials said many of them were plugged into extension cords.