MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A series of fatal fires is prompting the Milwaukee Fire Department to take action. On Monday, April 28th, firefighters will go door-to-door offering free smoke detectors to those who need them. It's an effort to put the "FOCUS" on fire prevention.
It has been a tragic and busy year so far for the Milwaukee Fire Department.
"To date, for all of 2014, we have tied all of last year's fire fatalities," Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski said.
Two people have died in house fires since January.
Earlier this month, at a home near 53rd and Nash, a 78-year-old man was pulled from his burning duplex. Leo Roethig later died.
Officials say two unopened smoke detectors were found inside the home.
"Smoke detectors alert people to the presence of smoke and they allow people to self-evacuate from residences," Lipski said.
Lipski says the Milwaukee Fire Department is looking to stress the importance of smoke detectors in a big way.
On Monday evening, April 28th, firefighters will go door-to-door on Milwaukee's near south side.
"Checking smoke detectors, installing batteries if needed," Lipski said.
The Milwaukee Fire Department will hand out and install smoke detectors free of charge to residents who don't have any.
It's part of the Milwaukee Fire Department's "FOCUS" initiative -- standing for "Firefighters Out Creating Urban Safety."
Lipski says the smoke detectors with a 10-year lifespan and tamper-proof battery work best.
"When you do burn your toast, or the pizza has been in the oven too long, instead of removing the battery, there is a hush button to silence the alarm to let the haze come out of your house," Lipski said.
FOCUS has been a regular event since the late 1980s -- when a string of fatal fires (most involving children) prompted action.
Firefighters continue the push today -- and it's all an effort to save lives.
"I have seen an entire family standing out on a lawn with a home -- as fast as we got there -- two-and-a-half or three minutes -- no one would have been viable in that home if they were still inside," Lipski said.
Need a smoke detector? Call the city of Milwaukee's "Smoke Detector Hotline" at 414-286-8980 to receive a smoke detector free of charge!
Meanwhile -- do you know where the best place in your house is for you to put your smoke detector in order for it to be most effective?
Deputy Chief Lipski discussed this and more in an interview with FOX6 Sunday.