MFD emphasizes importance of working smoke alarms after another fire death

CREATED Aug 19, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Fire Department sprang into action this week after a deadly fire on Sunday.  66-year-old Randolph Haushalter died. There were no working smoke alarms in his apartment at 6328 W. Kaul Street.

Now, Milwaukee firefighters are telling residents to take a good look at this number.  414-286-8980. That's the number to call if you need help with your smoke detector. So far in Milwaukee this year, we've lost seven lives due to fires, could this potentially save an eighth?
 
Randolph Haushalter became the 7th fire victim in Milwaukee this year.  Investigators believe rice boiled over on his stove Sunday and caught fire.
 
"We need your help so we can help you," said Chief Mark Rohlfing, Milwaukee fire department.
 
The city checks the common areas of every apartment building for smoke detectors about once a year, but they expect landlords to check inside each unit.
 
"We're urging all landlords to step that up to a different level, that quarterly you go on into all of the units, coordinate with the tenants and validate that the smoke detection is still in place," said Commissioner Art Dahlberg with the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services.
 
Landlords who don't provide working smoke detectors can be fined through the courts, but a landlord on the same block as Sunday's fatal fire says he's actually found a compliance issue with tenants who take the batteries out and don't replace them.
 
"Many of the tenants, and it's a very large percentage decide that it's not relevant and not important and don't use it.  Despite my warnings and even after a tragedy like this," said Michael Link, a landlord about other properties.
 
Link showed us the smoke detector contract that landlords have tenants sign when they move in. But it's up to the tenants themselves to contact the landlord if the smoke detector stops working.