Posted: Mar 26, 2014 5:17 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2014 6:34 PM
McALLEN - Homeowners in the Rio Grande Valley can ensure their homes are as fire-proof as possible with one phone call, officials said.
Officials with the McAllen Fire Department prevention division say everyone should take a look at their home and workplace to make sure they are prepared for a fire.
The recommendation comes after two deadly fires this week. The first blaze happened in San Juan. Fire officials said burglar bars kept the victim from escaping. Burglar bars also are being blamed for the death of a woman Wednesday in McAllen.
"Around one third of the fires where people die have to do with non-working smoke alarms. In this case, there were no smoke alarms throughout the building," McAllen Fire Marshal Juan Salinas said of Wednesday's deadly blaze.
Salinas said fire departments will inspect homes regardless if the dwellers own or rent the structure.
"There's no enforcement when you are the property owner," Salinas said.
Fire code inspectors can fine a landlord or business up to $2,000 for not following safety codes.
Fire inspectors go to workplaces to make sure fire extinguishers are working, smoke detectors and smoke alarms are up to code, and the building has proper fire exits.
The inspections are done free of charge.
McAllen has a 24-hour inspector available by calling 956-681-2100. The McAllen Fire Department prevention division also has smoke alarms available for free to McAllen homeowners. They'll even install them free of charge.
Edinburg, Weslaco and Pharr also have fire prevention programs.