Temple fire fighters say a house that suffered severe fire damage Tuesday did not have working smoke alarms.

Fire crews were dispatched to the 800 block of South 16th Street at 4:44 PM. When they arrived, they saw smoke coming from the eve of a house. By 4:59 PM, they had a fire inside the home under control.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the fire started in a front room of the structure. It appears to have been an unintentional burn. Fortunately, the two people living there were not home at the time and no injuries were reported.

In a new release, Temple Fire and Rescue Spokesman Thomas Pechal stressed the importance of having working smoke detectors in your home:

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms.

To keep your family safe, remember:

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
  • Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to prevent nuisance alarms. They should be at least 10 feet from the stove.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Clean alarms according to manufacturers' instructions.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • When replacing an alarm, consider purchasing a dual sensor alarm which have sensors to detect flaming fires (ionization alarm), and smoldering fires (photoelectric alarm).
  • Remember to replace batteries in your weather band radio and flashlights.
  • If you have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, remember to test it. A CO alarm will alert you to the presence of the deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas.
  • Develop an escape plan with two ways out of each room and designate a meeting place.
  • Practice a fire drill at least twice a year so that everyone knows what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.

Temple Fire & Rescue installs smoke alarms and batteries for people who are unable to buy them, or who need assistance with installation. There is no charge for this service. To schedule an appointment, please call 298-5682 during normal business hours. Residents who live outside of Temple needing a smoke alarm should contact the Bell County Fire Marshal at 933-5589 and obtain the number of their local fire department.