Fatal Fire Leads to Look at Local Apartment Safety

April 10, 2007 - Posted at 6:36 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-For many apartment life is home sweet home, but a few seconds can change everything.

"We make sure the outlet here is clear of any grease."

Therefore, apartment managers like Tommy Witcher say it's all about preparing their residents.

"We encourage our residents to have a plan, don't just move in," said Witcher's.

The links also do routine checks of their own.

"We just take a general look at the apartment to see if they are doing anything that might be a fire hazard," said Witcher's.

Hazards like greasy ovens, heating and air filters, and of course the lint filter in your dryer.

They also remind residents that windows are an escape route.

"We ask our residents to always leave a regress to the windows. Don't set large items, boxes, dressers or items such as that in front of a window in case they would have to escape through a window," said Witcher's.

Across town, the college corner apartments take a few steps of their own.

"We go over this with the tenants. We do show them the quickest stairwell access," said Justin Cope, District Manager.

One of the extra safety precautions they take at the College Corner apartments is issuing all residents a fire extinguisher, and before they even move in, they show them how to use them.

They also stress the importance of a properly working smoke detector.

"The number one reason for deaths from my experiences would be, no batteries in the smoke detectors. They are there, but they just do not have batteries," said Cope.

So managers with College Corner say their actions now, are crucial.

"Five minutes up front to explain the smoke detector and the fire extinguisher and how to use them can save a life and the property," said Cope.

It is suggested by all apartment managers that residents get together with their families to come up with and practice an escape route.

They all say while the complexes may be taking extra precautions, the few minutes tenants spend now could save them not only money, but their lives.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.