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AFD Emphasizes Safety After Deadly House Fires

Callie Hernandez for KUT News
Austin fire crews responded to three dangerous house fires yesterday.

The Austin Fire Department responded to two deadly house fires and a third that injured a person yesterday.

Fire Department Spokesperson Michelle DeCrane says that the tragedies might have been prevented if the homes had smoke detectors.

"The most important thing is everybody needs to have working smoke alarm – I cannot overemphasize how important that is," DeCrane says. "It is the cheapest life insurance money can buy, and it can buy you invaluable time to get out of your home in the event of a fire.”

If you do not have smoke alarms or can’t afford to buy them, the Austin Fire Department has a program to help you out. Click here or call 974-0299 for more information.

DeCrane also has advice for renters. She says it's important for renters to make sure smoke alarms work — it's not management's responsibility to check them. She also suggests buying renter's insurance. Apartment insurance will not cover your personal belongings.

DeCrane says that everyone should plan for the unexpected.

“We really encourage people to have an escape plan out of their home or out of their apartment, and a meeting place so that they can be sure everybody is out, everybody is safe and they don’t have to worry about going back in," DeCrane says.

She also says you should never go back into a fire to get something.

“We always encourage people to talk this over with their families, especially their kids, if you have a fire in your home, how do you get out, where do you go, where do you meet to ensure that everybody is out of the building," DeCrane says.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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