Free smoke detectors installed after tragedy in Topeka's Oakland area

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka firefighters installed free smoke detectors Tuesday night in the Oakland neighborhood, hours after a fire that killed one resident.

Fire crews went door-to-door, installing alarms in 12 homes. Shift Commander Chris Herrera said several other residents took applications to schedule an installation at a later date. They left information on the city's free smoke alarm program at homes where no one answered the door.

Herrera said people should have a working smoke detector on every floor of their home.

"It just it wakes you up," he said. "If you are in there sleeping in the middle of the night, it wakes you up, gives you a few minutes to get out of the house. "Fire burns so fast, a lot of people think, 'I'll wake up when I smell the smoke.' Well, actually, they will not."

Herrera also advised families should know two ways out of their home, and, with summer around the corner, kids who could potentially be left at home alone should know how to dial 911 and have safety procedures to follow.

In addition, Herrera says working smoke alarms are especially vital for people who are older or have a disability since it may take them longer to get out of a structure.

To get a free smoke alarm installed in your home in Topeka you can contact Topeka Fire Department via their web site or call 785-368-4000.

The department also offers special alarms for the hearing impaired which feature a strobe light and a shaker that installs between the box spring and top mattress to vibrate and wake someone who is sleeping.