Community smoke alarm sweeps follow fire death

Posted at 11:26 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 23:26:37-05
The porch light was on Friday night and there was no visible fire damage at 1912 Hillenwood Road. Fire officials said it was a single alarm fire that killed 90 year old Robert Skillman. 
It happened early in the morning on Saturday January 23, 2016
"The neighbor had said that Bob's house was on fire. So when we went to try to get in there, there was too much smoke. So he called 911," Darlene Lindsey, who has lived next door for more than 30 years, said. 
She said she would check on Skillman with the help of other neighbors and his children. 
"He had a working smoke detector. His kids checked on him, just was there that day and it just was an unfortunate thing that happened, but God has his plans for everyone," Lindsey said. 
Lindsey thought the 90 year old's robe sleeve caught on fire as he made a pot of coffee. Fire officials confirm it happened in the kitchen and said it appears to be accidental. 
This is the second fire death in the city in 2016. The department does smoke alarm sweeps weekly around the city but after any fire death they target their efforts to that particular community. 
"Knocking on doors, seeing if city residents actually have smoke alarms, working smoke alarms, testing them and also going over evacuation routes," Sam Johnson, Public Information Officer for the department, told ABC2. 
Johnson stressed the importance of having the smoke alarms but also to have an exit plan that everyone in the house knows about.
"Like we always tell people when there's a fire, get out of the location. Don't try to put the fire out yourself. Get out of the building, your home, call 911 and stay out until firefighters show up to put the fire out," Johnson said.
The following information includes fire statistics, and tips from the Baltimore City Fire Department:

One of the greatest groups at risk for dying in a fire nationwide is people over the age of 65. People over the age of 85 are five times more likely to die in a fire than the rest of the population.


Cooking accidents have been cited as the leading cause of fire related injuries for older Americans. Of all rooms in the home, the kitchen is deemed the most active and dangerous.


Kitchen Fire Safety – Most kitchen fires occur when food is left unattended on the stove. If for any reason you must leave the kitchen while cooking, as a reminder always take a hand towel, oven mitt or cooking spoon with you to remind you to return to the kitchen.

Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking it will most likely ignite from the heat or flames and cause serious injury.

Always heat pans with cooking oil slowly and extra cautions should be used when deep frying. If you should encounter a cooking fire, immediately place a lid over the pan to quickly extinguish the fire. NEVER use water to extinguish a grease fire as it will always result in injury and possibly death.