"You need working smoke detectors:" Firefighters canvass neighborhoods

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Fire officials have now identified the victim of Saturday's fatal fire as 81-year-old Dragomir Popovich.

They also tell us the home had no working smoke detectors.

"It is heartbreaking for all of us within the fire service when it comes to a fatality such as this especially when you realize there was no working smoke detector in this home," said Milwaukee Assistant Fire Chief Gerard Washington.

A smoke detector is a simple tool, that can be life-saving.

That's why Milwaukee fire crews canvassed the neighborhood of the fatal fire to check and install free smoke detectors.

"You need working smoke detectors, you need an escape plan, and you have to practice that escape plan," said Assistant Chief Washington.

Rudy Torres lived right next door to the victim and he didn't even realize that he didn't have working smoke detectors, either.

"It hits the heart. You say wow your next door neighbor and thank God it won`t happen to us because now we have all of this so we`re prepared now," said Torres.

Fire crews moved on to the next house.

They again found no working smoke detectors in some of the units, and something even more disturbing.

"We went into another unit and it had candles that were lit and no one was in the unit. So we always recommend always extinguish candles if you`re not at home," said Milwaukee Firefighter Michael Ball.

Fire officials say so far this year Milwaukee has had 5 fire deaths, compared to last years all time low of 2.

"All fire fatalities this year, there were no working smoke detectors in any of the homes. Smoke detectors are your first line of defense for you to get out safely," said Assistant Chief Washington.

Every home should have a working smoke detector on each floor.

If you are interested in having the Milwaukee Fire Department install a smoke detector in your home, call 414-286-8980.