Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 29, 2013

Smoke alarms credited for saving lives in Plainfield fire

Bart Doan

PLAINFIELD — The fire caused estimated damages in excess of $100,000 and sent one firefighter to the hospital with a minor injury.

Plainfield, Avon, Decatur, and Wayne Township fire departments collaborated on the fire, which took nearly an hour to contain.

Plainfield Fire Marshal Ken Foster said department collaboration and working smoke alarms were keys in preventing the situation from being even worse.

“In this case, the smoke alarm was in a place to detect smoke where there were no occupants,” he said. “They were in a back room. Had it not alerted, the fire could have easily broken in. (All the departments) worked very well together.

“One of the reasons each department got there so quickly is we have a combined joint dispatch center and our radio systems are corrected so we’re all notified at the same time so we can respond quickly rather than one responding and requesting another and then requesting another.”

Foster said the firefighter who sustained a minor injury was taken to Hendricks Regional Health in Danville and was later released.

He said that there were eight apartments involved in the fire and several others that were affected by smoke and water damage.

Witnesses at the scene described seeing the roof collapse.

The Plainfield Police Department and the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department assisted in evacuating occupants.

Foster said this case goes to show how important smoke alarms can be, and urged citizens to make sure their own alarms are in optimal condition.

“Push the test button at least every three months and change the battery annually,” he advised.

He also said that many local departments give out smoke alarms to those who cannot afford them. Plainfield has nearly exhausted its supply but is hoping to get more.

He said people wanting to help the displaced apartment residents should contact the local Red Cross to see what their needs might be. The Red Cross may be reached online at www.redcross.org/in/indianapolis  or by calling 684-1441.

The cause of the fire had not been determined as of press time.