After three deadly weekend fires, officials share reminders on staying prepared and safe

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Five people died this weekend after three fatal fires Saturday, Jan. 23, in Wisconsin.

They were in Fort Atkinson, Grant County and Washington County.

Five people died, and three of the victims were children.

“It’s unfortunate that somebody does lose their life in these fires but we have to make sure that their deaths aren’t in vain," West Bend Fire Captain of Fire Safety Kenny Asselin said.

He added that prevention and education are top ways to keep your family safe when flames break out.

“And so if we are able to take the message to install smoke alarms in your home, install sprinkler systems in your home, practice your escape plans. Those are the kind of things we can do to keep other people from dying in similar incidents in the future," said Asselin.

Milwaukee Fire officials say there have been no fire-related deaths in the city this year.

But they’ve responded to six calls so far this month.

“We never accept fire deaths as being the norm. We do whatever we can from a public response, and public prevention perspective, to try to prevent fire deaths from happening," Milwaukee Fire Assistant Chief David Votsis said.

The American Red Cross of Wisconsin is helping victims in Milwaukee and other counties.

“We’ve been exceptionally busy around the state, in particular, in southeast Wisconsin this winter and really since COVID," Communications Director Justin Kern said.

He explained that they've also seen a rise in apartment home fires.

“Every fire’s different but I think, anecdotally, kind of the thing we’re seeing is people are home more so things like cooking fires are more prone to happen, accidents around the home," added Kern.

Captain Asselin said state law requires landlords to put smoke alarms in residences. The tenant maintains them.

But if they aren’t working, the tenant should write to their landlord and the landlord has five days to make sure the alarm is properly functioning.

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