Editorial: Fire safety ... condo blaze should ring warning bell for all of us

It is a textbook example of how not to prepare for fire protection.

There was a lot of luck for residents amid high danger for firefighters late one night over the holidays as fire broke out in a low-rise Old Naples condominium.

Naples firefighters had difficulty locating the source of the blaze in order to combat it. They actually had to listen for the crackling sound of fire to track the flames they knew were there.

Firefighters, residents and property were put in harm’s way because of a list of safety malfunctions. A single paragraph from our news account sums it up:

“(I)t was discovered that there was no smoke detector in the residence where the flames started, a smoke detector next door had its battery in backwards, a third neighbor’s detector had the battery sitting inside of it, a fourth had a dead battery and the building’s fire alarm system didn’t operate correctly.”

It was an accident waiting to happen, and it did. Smoke detectors were off duty where the initial smoke was.

It is a wonder that damages were kept to an estimated $250,000 and no injuries were reported.

The incident ought to serve as fodder for many a condo association board meeting. It’s a good time for the rest of us to check our household fire-safety plans as well.

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