“Not one working smoke detector:” Man dies in fire, is community getting the message?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee firefighters are investigating a fatal apartment fire that happened on the city's north side early Sunday, August 17th.

First responders were dispatched to the apartment building near 64th and Kaul around 3:30 a.m. Firefighters found heavy fire on the second floor where the man who died was living. They say fire burnt through the door of his apartment -- and down the staircase. Officials say the fire was brought under control within 25 minutes. It appears to have started in the kitchen.

Officials say there were no working smoke detectors in the building. Firefighters on the scene reinforced a message that they say is clearly not being heard in the community.

"We had not one smoke detector inside the unit that was burning.  We did find one in an adjacent unit but our firefighters report the alarm was not sounding," said Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski of the Milwaukee Fire Department. "Every fire related fatality this year in the city of Milwaukee has been in a place that's had no working smoke detector."

Williams Mimis lives in the unit right below the one that burned. He says he didn't know the man upstairs -- and didn't hear smoke detectors go off. He's grateful to his other neighbors who warned him.

"We heard someone knocking and banging on the door. Hitting on the windows. Get up. Get up," said Mimis.

A Milwaukee firefighter who pulled the victim from his unit suffered minor burns. He has since been released from the hospital.

Nine other people who live in the building are now being assisted by the Red Cross.

The victim in this fire has not yet been identified.

Fire officials tell FOX6 News it's a property owner's responsibility to provide smoke detectors to all units of an apartment building. If you don't have one or it's not working -- and the owner is not complying, you're asked to file a complaint against the owner through the city.

If you live in Milwaukee, the fire department will even come to your home, do a fire inspection and install alarms free of charge if you qualify.  The number is 414-286-8980.

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