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On Friday, March 19, 2021, the Waukee Fire Department responded to a structure fire at an apartment complex. It was a call that could have ended differently if not for the quick actions of an unknown citizen and the presence of a fire extinguisher.
Prior to the firefighters' arrival on the scene, a citizen saw fire and smoke coming from a balcony. The citizen knocked on the apartment door but there was no answer. He climbed to the second story balcony, had an acquaintance toss a fire extinguisher up to him, and then he proceeded to extinguish the small fire. The citizen left soon after the fire department arrived.
"We are grateful to whomever this mystery person is. Had he not taken the quick action to extinguish this fire, it could have spread quickly through the apartment building," said Fire Lt. Tony Clemen. "This scenario is also a key reminder of the importance of fire extinguishers."
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends the use of a portable fire extinguisher when a fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. They can be purchased at most home improvement or hardware stores.
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms as well. Learn more about making an escape plan and about fire extinguishers from the NFPA.