A 12-year-old male child died in a house fire at 2509B N. 5th Street on September 24, 2018. Six adult occupants and four children were able to escape, but the victim was trapped on the upper floor of the 1½ story residence until rescued after an aggressive search; but unfortunately, by the time he was found, he had already succumbed to the high heat and fire.
In the aftermath of the fatal house fire, Milwaukee Fire Department Chief Mark Rohlfing and Assistant Chief Brian Smith held a press conference on September 25, 2018 emphasizing the importance of having working smoke detectors and an escape plan ready.
“We don’t need these fire deaths,” Rohlfing said. “We know that smoke alarms can provide early warning of a fire. We know that if there is a good escape plan, that if we work with our children, if we have a designated meeting place outside, if we talk about fire safety that we can prevent most of our fire deaths in Milwaukee.”
After the press conference, other Milwaukee Fire Department officials canvassed the neighborhood informing residents that the Milwaukee Fire Department maintains a smoke alarm hotline 414- 286-8980 and will come and install free of charge smoke detectors in residents’ homes.
Rohlfing said the most important way to prevent fatal house fires is to have working smoke detectors installed and a detailed escape plan already in place.
“Practice the escape plan so that your children know that if the smoke alarm goes off they know what to do,” Rohlfing said, adding an escape plan should include practical advice, like stay close to the floor, feel the escape door before opening it to determine if it is hot, and if the main escape route is blocked by fire, knowing the alternate escape route.