Council committee passes smoke detector ordinance - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Council committee passes smoke detector ordinance

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Indianapolis is now closer to requiring a new kind of smoke detector in every home and apartment.

When customers go to the smoke detector aisle at Fusek Hardware downtown, what do they reach for?

"The cheapest one," says Steve Fusek. "Nine dollars."

But fires, some fatal, have Indianapolis City-County councilors at work on a new ordinance. If the full council approves it, every home and apartment would have to have a tamper-proof ionization detector.

It's all designed to curb the problem of people removing batteries from smoke detectors when they begin emitting low battery chirps.

In the case of the tamper-proof units, the smoke detector batteries cannot be removed. Fusek says they will continue chirping until someone addresses the problem.

That means buying a new detector. They have a life span of ten years.

Philadelphia and Milwaukee have already okayed similar ordinances.

The city's public safety committee okayed it, but did not require photoelectric units be installed alongside them. Councillor Christine Scales pushed for those detectors. An Eyewitness News investigation found they are more effective at warning of common, slow-smoldering fires that kill victims with toxic gas, not flames.

The new tamper-proof units will cost at least $19. We saw some up to $29. That's more than three times the cost of the base model smoke detector.

If approved, the law takes effect July 1, 2014.

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