"The people in the back apartment were able to exit through the fire escape and come down through the second floor," said Captain Dan McBride of the Rochester Fire Department. "The people in the front apartment actually came down a construction person's ladder."
The fatal fire in Marion is unfortunately not an unusual situation. While most homes have at least one smoke detector, nearly half do not work.
"If there'd been a working smoke detector and they had advance warning, then you've got a lot more options," said McBride. "We encourage people to have a smoke detector near every adjacent sleeping area of the home."
This year, firefighters are encouraging families to have a detector in every bedroom, check it monthly, and change batteries twice a year. But there's one more protection every family should have... an escape plan.
"A lot of people say it's not going to happen to me, I'm careful, I don't smoke or a thousand different excuses," said Dr. Bob Cole of the Prevention First Foundation. "Less than a fourth of people have actually practiced an exit plan even once."
In October, Prevention First will launch a campaign in Rochester with local agencies to make sure all families have a fire exit drill.