Fire Department Inspects Longview Apartments

At the beginning of each year the Longview Fire Department routinely inspects apartment complexes, making sure they are up to code.

Last year fire department staffing was down and most apartments were never inspected.

But 2002 saw an increase in apartment fires.

Now the Longview Fire Department is making the rounds again.

Last year 21 fires were reported at Longview apartment complexes including this fire at the Ware Meadows complex in December.

The culprit?

"One of the biggest cause of fire this last year was people leaving stuff on the stove unattended and us having stove and kitchen fires," says Brian Howell with the Longview Fire Department.

How can you prevent a typical fire from turning deadly?

We followed Brian as he inspected the Highland Village Apartments to find out.

First stop is the fire extinguisher.

"We check to make sure the month and the year that it's been inspected within the last 12 months," says Brian.

Brian says fire extinguishers deteriorate over time.

Make sure yours is checked annually.

The date it was last checked should be clearly marked.

Who is responsible for making sure a smoke detector works in an apartment?

The answer is both management and residents.

Management must insure, when you move in, that your detector is working.

Then maintenance is up to you.

"Make sure your smoke detector works, change the battery every time you change the clocks," says Brian.

Brian says so far most of the 80 apartments in Longview are passing their inspections with few violations.

The fire department also inspects for clearly marked fire lanes.

They say newly painted fire lanes will include the wording 'tow away zone'.

That gives authorities the ability to tow away cars parked in the fire lane.

Amy Tatum, reporting.