An effort to outfit a northeastern Iowa town’s two-story homes with fire safety equipment raised enough money to buy 50 fire escape ladders.
The project, called Operation Josh’s Ladder, is named for 27-year-old Josh Nelson who died in a fire March 31 in Charles City.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reported that Gospel Lighthouse Church, Floyd Lions Club, Grace Methodist Church, Cedar Springs Camp and Schueth Ace Hardware all donated to the project.
Lois Meyer, a cousin of Nelson’s and treasurer of Gospel Lighthouse Church, said his death could have been prevented if there had been an escape ladder to allow him to get out of a window in his apartment, which was on the upper floor of a large house.
“We never want to see anyone else die in a fire,” said Meyer, who lives in Floyd.
On Saturday, Floyd Fire Chief Ben Chatfield trained residents receiving the ladders on how to use them. The portable ladders can be stored compactly when not in use. They come fully assembled.
They are made of steel and nylon and have wide, windowsill hooks. The rungs are slip-resistant.
Meyer said the ladders are strong enough that an adult can descend them while carrying a child and comply with ASTM International standards.
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