Firefighters making headway

By Ben Wolf - bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -  The fire department is making progress with a city ordinance mandating all Shreveport apartment complexes to have fire stops above kitchen stoves.
A little more than a year ago, Laverne Smith died inside her home while cooking breakfast.
It was one of many Shreveport fire deaths that prompted a strong movement by the fire department to make every apartment kitchen safer.  
In March of this year, Southwood Gardens put fire suppression devices in every unit.
Shortly after, a suppression device put out a kitchen fire in the apartment of Tommy Hitchcock --one of the men who tried to help Laverne back in 2008.
In June 2009, the Shreveport city council passed an ordinance mandating all apartment homes have the fire suppression device over the stoves.
Firefighters say more than half of all apartments in the city now have the devices installed and almost all of those that don't, have filled out paperwork saying they will.
The final deadline for all apartment owners to install the fire stops is January 1, 2010.
About five percent of apartment complex owners still have not faxed in the proper paperwork saying they will comply with the ordinance by the January first deadline.
Firefighters are actively investigating those apartments and say they need to send in the proper paperwork immediately.
Fire officials say they will take legal action if apartments do not follow the ordinance.

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