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Cause for alarm(s)

It's not often residents of Hays are faced with house fires. For that, we are blessed.

But during the past week, two homes suffered significant damage from fire -- the first during the early morning hours Monday, and the second during the afternoon Wednesday.

The early morning fire forced residents of the home on Fairway Drive from their beds.

Luckily, no one was home when the fire started in the residence Wednesday at the intersection of 20th and Fort.

The causes of both fires were deemed accidental, and no one was injured during either blaze.

The Hays Fire Department was on the scene of both in a short amount of time, working quickly to extinguish the flames. While the first fire was quicker to contain, the second wasn't. Firefighters needed several hours to knock down the menacing fire, and members of the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, Ellis Fire Department and Victoria Fire Department aided in the effort.

We are blessed with a talented group of full-time and volunteer firefighters in the county, and they showed just how important they are to the city in the past week. They are willing to put our safety above their own at times.

The two instances also are a stark reminder we need to have active smoke alarms in homes and businesses. A detector was credited with allowing the residents of the home on Fairway Drive to escape before being overcome by fire.

We ask you to take a few extra seconds to check -- and double check -- to make sure each of your alarms are working properly. If not, check the battery, or call on help from your local fire department.

The Hays Fire Department offers free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms through a partnership with Walmart SuperCenter for those on fixed incomes and those who cannot afford alarms on their own. Call HFD at (785) 628-7330 for more details.

It's much better to make the call to the department now, rather than having to rely on dialing 911 when disaster flares up.

Editorial by Nick Schwien

nschwien@dailynews.net