Stamford's Christmas Day Fire Inspires New Laws

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Stamford's Director of Public Safety, Health, and Welfare Thaddeus Jankowski says smoke detectors reduce the chance of injuries during a fire. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — Nothing can be done to soothe the sadness caused by the fire that took the lives of five people in Stamford on Christmas Day 2011, but the state and city have added laws requiring smoke detectors in homes in hope of preventing another deadly blaze.

Investigators were unable to say for certain whether Madonna Badger’s Shippan Point home in Stamford had working smoke detectors.

The state law now requires all residences to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in residences, and a certificate of occupancy will not be issued until the warning systems are in place. The bill was co-sponsored by many legislators, including the entire Stamford delegation, and was signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy on June 1.

The city’s ordinance is similar, requiring residences to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all residences, and requires them to be outside each sleeping area, in each room used for sleeping, and on every story that is habitable. The ordinance was approved by the Board of Representatives in August.
“It shows everyone how important they are to us,” Thaddeus Jankowski, the city's Public Safety, Health and Welfare director said.

Jankowski, a former firefighter, said when people are sleeping, their senses go to sleep as well, and without the piercing alarm detectors offer, they might not wake up. In his experience, he said, having working detectors significantly minimizes the risk of injury and death.

“The more time you have, the better,” he said.
The city’s fire departments – volunteer and professional – also gave out 1,000 battery operated smoke detectors to Stamford residents. The detectors were given to the city by First Alert in January less than a month after the deadly blaze.

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