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Home in fatal basement fire near 24th and Vine had a working smoke detector

Officials believe the man who died in the basement had a prosthetic leg.
Posted at 3:31 PM, May 23, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Fire officials said Tuesday that the home involved in Sunday's fatal fire near 24th and Vine did have a working smoke detector.

Fire crews responded to the home around 11:30 Sunday morning for reports of a fire in the basement. Officials say a citizen who was riding his bike saw smoke coming out of the basement and knocked on the door before calling 911.

When crews arrived, there was heavy fire in the basement and firefighters found a dead man.

Dewayne Smoots, the assistant chief of operations for the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD), said during a press conference Tuesday that officials believe the man had a prosthetic leg.

WATCH: MFD provides update on fatal fire at 24th and Vine

24th and Vine fire presser

Officials believe the man might have spent time in the basement, but can not say if he had fallen asleep at the time of the fire.

Smoots warned, although people might think smoke will wake them up, smoke actually puts you in a deeper sleep. It is also illegal to have sleeping quarters in the basement of any home, Smoots shared.

"Most basements are on brick, so that means that once it heats up, it's like a barbecue because it's really hot in there," Smoots said.

The fire remains under investigation, but no foul play is suspected.

Also on Tuesday, MFD went around the neighborhood making sure everyone had a working smoke detector.

If you need a smoke detector, call 414-286-8980, and a crew will come and install them for you at no cost.

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