By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Top brass in the Philadelphia Fire Department showed up late for a briefing about giving away free state-of-the-art smoke detectors, but they had good reason.

Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel was on his way, but diverted to a rowhome fire around the corner at Roosevelt Boulevard and Rising Sun Avenue. But no one was inside.

(credit: Steve Tawa)

(credit: Steve Tawa)

“And that home was empty, because of a smoke alarm that the Philadelphia fire department installed in an effort just like this.”

A four-block stretch along Wakeling and Darrah Streets, just off Frankford Avenue, was targeted to receive updated 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarms for each level of the rowhomes, with funds raised by the Insurance Society of Philadelphia.

(credit: Steve Tawa)

Commissioner Adam Thiel (credit: Steve Tawa)

Thiel says the little devices save lives and protect property.

“Those people were out because of that functioning smoke alarm, installed by us, with a 10-year lithium battery.”

(credit: Steve Tawa)

(credit: Steve Tawa)

Folks can get a smoke detector, installed free of charge by contacting the 3-1-1 call system.

The city has unfortunately experienced 14 fire-related deaths so far in 2016, up from 12 in all of 2015.

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