Fire fatalities are rising at an alarming rate this year.

The state fire marshal along with the Indianapolis Fire Department came together Wednesday to give homeowners advice on how to avoid falling victim to this frightening trend.

More people have died in residence fires in Indiana so far this year than in all of 2012. Officials are pleading with homeowners, renters and landlords to install smoke detectors and to check the ones they already have installed.

Listen Live Graphics (Indy)

Seven people have died in Indianapolis house or apartment fires so far this year. Not one of those homes had working smoke detectors.

State law requires homeowners and landlords to install working smoke alarms, but the law has no teeth. Fire marshals – both state and local – cannot inspect homes or individual apartments for smoke detectors.

“We are not allowed to go into those residences and doubles like we are a business. There’s different codes, different rules; it’s difficult. We live in a free society where privacy is important and the fire service, primarily, we’re invited into homes by a call,” said Indiana Fire Marshal Chief Jim Greeson.

The fire marshal says getting access to apartments or other residences is a long process. That’s why the onus is on people to make sure they have a working smoke detector in their home.

Meanwhile, the state has applied for a $300,000 grant to provide free smoke detectors to communities throughout Indiana. If you live in Indianapolis, you can already pick up a free smoke detector at your nearest fire station.

See a list of Indianapolis fire stations here. (Click on “stations” in the menu on the left).

See smoke alarm safety tips here.

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