A total of 33 McKinney Fire Department personnel responded to a structure fire at an apartment complex on Wilson Creek Parkway on the evening of Oct. 7.

Sixteen apartments were affected, resulting in the displacement of multiple residents. 

Firefighters did not hear any smoke detectors sounding when they arrived, and they later found many apartments with their smoke alarms disconnected and/or batteries removed. 

According to MFD spokesperson Stacie Durham, “The risk of dying is twice as high in a home without working smoke alarms. We are fortunate that this fire occurred at a time of day when most residents were awake.  Everyone evacuated safely.  Had the fire occurred just a few hours later, when most residents were sleeping, the outcome could likely have been deadly.”

Durham stressed that smoke alarms are only effective if they are operating. All alarms should be tested monthly by pressing the ‘test’ button and batteries should be replaced annually. Another option is to install 10-year lithium batteries. 

“With a 10-year battery, you replace the entire unit when the battery expires. While you replace batteries less often, you still test the alarm monthly.  Remember, only working smoke alarms save lives,” advised Durham.

Oct. 7-13 marks Fire Prevention Week across the United States. First proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925, Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. 

The focus of Fire Prevention Week 2012 is 'Know Two Ways Out.' Residents are asked to plan and practice their escape in case of a fire in their home, and to identify two ways out of every room in the residence, such as a door and window.

As a part of Fire Prevention Week activities, McKinney Fire Station No. 1 (301 N. McDonald) and Fire Station No. 5 (6600 Virginia Pkwy.) will host an open house on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 7-830 p.m. 

Firefighters will conduct station tours, show and tell with apparatus and gear, and provide educational messages and giveaways.

The McKinney Fire Department offers a variety of educational programs, including home safety inspections, smoke alarm and battery testing and replacement, evacuation planning, and fire extinguisher training.  Programs are available to individuals and groups, including your place of business. 

For additional information call 972-547-2850, visit www.mckinneyfire.org or email contact-fire@mckinneytexas.org.