H-SANTA MARIA

Mar 12, 2013 9:25 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Fire chief warns about the correct use of a smoke detector

Smoke detectors are certainly not a new device, but one local fire chief said on Tuesday, they are not being used enough, and sometimes used incorrectly. A fire broke out on Monday morning in Goleta, and officials say the single-family home didn't have working smoke detectors.

Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr said a smoke detector can be a lifesaver. He said a homeowner is actually breaking the law if they don't have at least one battery-operated smoke detector on each level of their home. That also includes rental units, like apartments.

"Landlord's responsibility," said Chief Orr.

According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, an apartment must have a smoke detector in each room designed for sleeping. If a fire were to break out and there was not a detector, on top of breaking the law, Chief Orr said an insurance company may not pay for the damage.

Chief Orr has worked in fire departments for nearly two decades, and he said he's witnessed it all, but one scene he remembers the most, was when a five-year-old died in a house fire in the Santa Maria area over two years ago. The rest of the family was able to survive because of a working smoke detector.

He said, "It probably would've been much worse if the smoke detector was not working, and the mom and the other child would've perished in the fire not knowing that."

Chief Orr said smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month, and to always keep spare batteries on hand.

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