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Fire officials stress smoke alarms' importance after 13 injured in Indianapolis apartment fire

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Posted at 7:58 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 11:29:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Fire officials say apartments at a complex that caught on fire early Wednesday, leaving 13 people injured as a result, did not have smoke alarms installed.

Some units at Pangea Courts Apartments had mounts for smoke alarms but no alarms attached, while other alarms in the building were installed but not working, according to the Indianapolis Fire Department.

"It was shocking to hear. Somebody should have paid attention to what was going on, followed through on the actual requirements," said Antonio Robinson, an apartment complex resident.

Of the people who were injured, 10 were children.

The building, located in the 4400 block of Linwood Court, has 12 units inside, three of which didn't have smoke alarms. Two of those apartments were occupied by hearing-impaired individuals and did not have silent alarms made specifically for the hearing-impaired.

Fire officials say that when crews responded, they could tell the apartments did at one time have smoke alarms mounted inside the units but at some point, they were removed.

In a multi-residential home, the owner of the complex or the landlord is required to have working alarms in all of the common areas of a residence. That includes places like the hallways, gyms and community rooms.

But it is up to individual residents to maintain the smoke alarms in the units they're renting.

Robinson said the building he lives in has smoke alarms in all the common areas, and the unit he lives in was equipped with a smoke detector when he moved in.

That's something IFD Fire Marshal and Division Chief Mike Beard says is imperative for safety.

"Smoke detectors are there for you. They are not to stop fires; they are to help you get out in time where you can save your life and the life of people who live in your home — your family. If an alarm is going off, it is there to notify you. It's there to keep you aware of what is going on in your residence," said Beard.

Beard added that each hearing-impaired person should have someone there to help notify them and get them out of bed in case of a fire. He showed how the "silent alarm" works.

Silent fire alarm

The Fire Department provides alarms for free, which can be ordered by calling 317-327-6093 or visiting its website.