Chicago fatal fire reminds renters of smoke alarm responsibilities

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As investigators in Chicago try to figure out who will be held responsible for the deaths of 10 children in a house fire, local firefighters are using the tragedy to remind tenants they are responsible for maintaining their smoke alarms.

In Marion County, property owners are only required to install the smoke alarms. After you move in, you are responsible for making sure the devices work.

You have to replace the battery when it goes out. And if there is a different problem, you must notify the property owner. They have two business days to fix the smoke alarm.

You should also never leave a smoke alarm without batteries. Worst case scenario, you’d be held responsible in case of an injury or death. Best case scenario, you could face up to a $1,000 fine.

“Always test your smoke alarm every month and if there’s an issue, get with your property owner and try to get that issue resolved,” said Randy Gulley, Wayne Township Fire’s Division Chief of Code Enforcement.

Gulley also reminds tenants that smoke alarms have expiration dates. That expiration date is 10 years after the date printed on the back of the alarm. Keeping up with those dates falls on both tenants and property owners. The good news is fire departments will also periodically check on this at apartment buildings.

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