Dickinson house fire extinguished, Deputy Chief urges community to check smoke alarms

·3 min read

May 22—DICKINSON — Rapid response times from the Dickinson Fire Department first responders ensured a best-case scenario outcome as the department responded to a house fire at the 100 block of 8th Ave E on Sunday, May 21.

It was Sunday evening when crews received the report of the house fire, prompting the team to quickly gear up and promptly arrive on the scene where the fire was rapidly spreading. Deputy Chief Mark Selle of the Dickinson Fire Department said the fire appeared to be caused by an electrical issue, beginning in the basement of the home.

"It looks to be like it was an electrical issue. It was a fire that started in the basement and kind of worked its way up the stairs, and it caused some smoke and heat damage to the upper level as well. But it definitely could have gotten a lot worse if we weren't there quick enough," Selle said.

The fire crew remained on the scene for several hours conducting their investigation, checking for extension and conducting overhaul according to the department. The occupants were home at the time of the fire but made it out safely without sustaining any injuries. While the occupants remained unharmed, the house did sustain smoke and fire damage according to the department.

Selle noted that the fire took place in an older home and while it was well-built, older homes often bring a set of challenges when it comes to having properly operating smoke alarms which can ultimately improve response time for all parties.

"With an older home, the smoke alarms weren't in place like they are in new homes. So they would have got an early notification, and we would have gotten notified sooner. So having those operating smoke alarms are really important for people in the home and to help protect your home," Selle said.

According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, nearly three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms. In homes with working smoke alarms, the risk of dying in a home fire is 55 percent lower than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.

Interconnected smoke alarms are Selle's top recommendation when it comes to smoke alarms, although he also mentions Bluetooth options and battery-operated alarms, though he urges people to always remember to change their batteries.

"The best thing is to have interconnected smoke alarms in your home, where when one goes off, they all go off. It gets difficult when you have an older home and they don't have that in there. They do make new versions now that are Bluetooth. You can actually install them, and then they will interconnect and talk to each other. But if you're doing some remodeling, I would suggest everybody put interconnected smoke alarms and make sure that they're working. If that's not an option for you definitely do the single station battery operated ones and remember to change your batteries and make sure that those are working," Selle said.

The Dickinson Fire Department also offers a smoke alarm program that provides assistance and installation of smoke alarms in the homes of community members.

For more information or an application for the smoke alarm program, Selle recommends reaching out to

Senior Fire Inspector

Todd O'Donnell at the Dickinson Fire Department.