Skip to main content

MFD, ‘Peter’s Story’ mark Fire Prevention Month

October 12, 2010

October is Fire Prevention Month, and this year, the Madison Fire Department is putting a special emphasis on smoke alarms.

Fire prevention became a special focus in Madison following the death of 23-year-old Peter Talen on Nov. 18, 2007. He was visiting his brother, a UW–Madison student, at his residence at 123 N. Bedford St. when a fire broke out. There was only one working smoke alarm in the two-story house.

Talen was a theater student at UW-La Crosse prior to his tragic death. His friends and colleagues there have produced a documentary to tell Talen’s story in hopes of preventing similar tragedies.

The producers of the documentary, Academic Technology Services at UW-La Crosse, granted the Madison Fire Department the rights to air the documentary on its Web site,

Last year the Madison Common Council unanimously passed the Peter Talen Memorial Smoke Alarm Ordinance, requiring both rental and owner occupied properties to have a tamper proof smoke alarm with a 10-year battery, or a smoke alarm hard wired to an outlet. Information on smoke alarms and the new ordinance is also available on the site.

For campus fire prevention tips, visit