A house that had failed a federal safety inspection in July caught fire last week in South Bend and killed 6 children, the South Bend Tribune reported.
While the cause of the fire is still being investigated, the home had failed the federal safety inspection six months prior to the fire. The local housing authority had moved the previous tenants out of the home after the inspector reported 10 violations, including an “electrical problem throughout the entire home,” according to a document The Tribune obtained through a public records request.
In the wake of the tragic South Bend fire, here are some fire safety tips to ensure you are prepared for a residential fire. Read below about how often your home should be inspected to catch problems that could potentially cause a fire.
Fire safety tips
According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of the 84 fatalities were caused by residential fires across the state in 2023, 7 of which were in Marion County. Already this year a woman died in a house fire in Indianapolis on Jan. 22.
Indiana DHS says on their Fire Safety page that fire-related deaths can be reduced by following a few safety tips and preparing before a fire occurs.
This webpage includes resources and education on the risks of fire in regard to alternative heating (space heaters, fireplaces, etc.), campfires, cooking, fireworks and open burning.
DHS also offers guides for putting together a fire escape plan, everything to know about fire extinguishers, as well as ensuring that both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and functional in your home.
How often should your landlord inspect your home?
If you are a renter, your property manager/landlord should be doing proper inspections on your home.
According to Property Management Inc., there’s no set schedule for how often a landlord is required to inspect their property, but the law requires “reasonable inspections.”
Having inspections once a year or every few months is typically considered appropriate for routine maintenance of a rental property.
It is important to keep in mind that your landlord is required to provide you notice before the inspection, at least 24 to 48 hours in advance.
‘Treated like animals’: How a mega investor turned affordable homes into rental nightmares
How often should a homeowner have their home inspected?
Even for homeowners, home inspections can be important for catching damage you might not be able to see with your own eyes.
Home inspections are not legally required, but they are highly recommended before buying a home as well as every three to five years as part of routine maintenance.
It may cost you anywhere from $200 to $500 for a home inspection depending on the size of your home, as reported by RedFin. Inspections can help detect problems before they cause irreparable damage to your home.
A home inspector will create an inspection report for the client that details minor and major problems that should be resolved.
How can I report unsafe buildings in Indiana?
Under Indiana law, your landlord must provide a safe, clean and habitable rental unit that complies with health and housing code.
To file a complaint about the conditions of your property, contact your local health department.
To find information on your local health department visit the state website in.gov/health/lhd/local-health-department-map.