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      Hundreds of fire alarms to be installed for free Wednesday

      A collaboration between the Ottumwa Fire Department, Wapello County Rural Fire Department, the United Way of Wapello County and the American Red Cross is making sure that every home in the community has a working fire alarm.

      There have been several structure fires in Ottumwa and Southeast Iowa this year that might have been prevented if the building had had a working fire alarm. So on Wednesday, September 11, members of the OFD and the Red Cross are installing fire alarms in around 400 homes.

      The Ottumwa Fire Department targeted seven different communities in Ottumwa where the free detectors would be the most needed.

      "Saving lives is obviously the most important thing and a smoke alarm does do that, it gets people out," said Brandon Holstrom, of the American Red Cross. "We are specifically targeting mobile homes, so as many people know, mobile homes, once a fire does start, it goes quickly, so we really want to get people out of their homes before it happens."

      The fire alarms were purchased thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation.

      If your home is not in one of the communities targeted for Wednesday's event, the OFD has an ongoing program where they will install a smoke detector in your home for free. For more information, call the Department at 641-683-0666.