Amid a rash of fatal house fires in Louisiana, Zachary leaders are considering directing the city building official to check if homes have smoke detectors while he conducts electrical inspections.

The Fire Department requested the proposed ordinance, which the City Council discussed at its meeting Tuesday. Council members will vote on the matter later.

Under the proposal, city Building Official Scott Masterson would have to document whether homes have detectors and pass that information along to the Fire Department. He would make the checks while inspecting homes that have not had electricity for at least six months.

“If they have been cut for six months or longer ... the power company requires me to do an electrical inspection before they release it” and utilities can be connected, Masterson said.

Once alerted of a home that doesn’t have smoke detectors, “we’re going to go out and we’re going to offer these people two detectors,” said Fire Chief Danny Kimble.

His department already provides detectors to people who need them, and the department has been getting more requests since the Jan. 3 fire that killed Dana Lieblong, 30, and her two daughters, 10 month-old Mallorie Maglone, and 8 year-old Michaela Pribbernow, at their Zachary home.

Kimble said firefighters have installed about 90 detectors since then. “We’re just trying to get a smoke detector in every home,” he said.

Mother, two children found dead after fire at Zachary mobile home, fire chief says

Some council members asked whether the proposed ordinance could open the door to liability, but Kimble and city attorney John Hopewell both noted the city cannot mandate people to have detectors. Rather, the intent of the proposal is to make people aware of the devices’ importance and that the Fire Department can provide them.

“Hopefully you don’t have a mother and two kids die in a house fire again,” said Mayor David Amrhein. “That was the goal of this.”

He added: “If you get sued for putting a smoke alarm up and saving someone’s life, I’m good.”

In other business, the council:

  • Recognized the Zachary High School football team, which in December won the Class 2A state title for the second time in three years.
  • Voted to carve out a lot and approved a site plan allowing a communal garden shed to be built in the Americana development.
  • Approved final plans for the first phase of construction in the Meadow View subdivision.
  • Voted to annex 67.3 acres off Port Hudson-Pride Road into city limits. Step 12, LLC owns the land.
  • Approved permits allowing alcohol to be sold at a Super Bowl celebration at Coconut Willy’s Daiquiris on Feb. 4 and at the Cast Iron Classic charity run on Feb. 24.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was modified on Jan. 24, 2018, to indicate that Step 12, LLC, not Peel Homes, owns the 67.3 acres annexed by the city. The Advocate regrets the error.