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Fire precautions by a PMI property manager credited with saving lives during Richmond house fire

PMI Richmond - Friday, September 3, 2021
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Editor’s note: This article was published in partnership with Property Management Inc. and Stop Loss LLC after Dave Peschio’s fire prevention efforts in Richmond, VA, were credited with helping save the lives of a family.

Flames crawled up the side of the house after dark. Inside, a family, including a young infant, were sleeping.

The cause had been simple enough: a candle left burning on the porch. But that tiny flame grew into a potentially life-threatening house fire that could have easily ended in catastrophe.

Instead, the family was saved by something unspectacular: a smoke detector. And yet, there was something spectacular about it. It was installed in the tenant’s bedroom. It hadn’t been required by law.

But PMI Richmond Owner David Peschio had installed that smoke detector when it was advised by a firefighter-led company known as Stop Loss LLC. It was an extra precaution that ended up alerting the tenant to a fire just outside the bedroom wall.

“I thought it would never happen,” Peschio said, “and then it did.”

Thankfully, Peschio had partnered with Stop Loss LLC to inspect the home. They had recommended a series of precautions — based on their professional experience fighting fires — that Peschio had taken to heart. His investment paid off.

Every year, more than 358,000 Americans experience house fires. Those fires cause nearly $7 billion in damage, displacing families, and injuring thousands.

PMI’s Partnership with Stop Loss

“Sometimes you can do everything right, and there’s still a fire,” Richmond, Va. firefighter and founder of Stop Loss LLC, Shaun Whiteley says. “After that, it’s often too late. That’s why it’s crucial to have safety measures in place.”

If a fire starts in your home, you have only three minutes to exit the property, Whiteley says.

If Peschio’s tenant didn’t have a smoke alarm in the bedroom or had slept just a minute longer, the family might not have escaped the home.

Thankfully for the tenant, Peschio had partnered with Stop Loss. Because of the partnership, Peschio had added more smoke alarms to his properties than are required by law. Having the additional smoke alarms in the bedroom saved the family’s life.

“Dave really is an unsung hero in the background,” Whiteley says.

What is Stop Loss?

Stop Loss helps property management companies limit their risk of a catastrophic fire. They partner with rental property to ensure homes units are compliant with the state’s fire code.

But Stop Loss goes beyond checking smoke alarms. Stop Loss works with property owners to go above the minimum for smoke detectors, and they educate tenants on potential fire hazards.

“I’m most passionate about education,” Whiteley says.

Whiteley and his team inspect units for possible fire hazards and help tenants make small, simple changes to prevent fires. These things can be done for free most of the time, like cleaning grease, build-up a stove, cleaning air filters, and moving storage away from heat.

And Whiteley’s team are true pros. Most are active firefighters or have other prior fire experience.

Fires will never go away 100%, Whiteley says, but Stop Loss can help minimize the physical and financial risks if one does occur.

“I would’ve been held responsible if a tenant’s injuries or death was caused due to smoke alarms not properly functioning or another failed code compliance,” Peschio says. “Luckily, after the fire, I immediately logged into the Stop Loss portal and downloaded a copy of recent property inspection reports.”

“They took liability away of us, and that was a sigh of relief,” Peschio says.

For Peschio, the peace of mind that Stop Loss brought was a no-brainer.

“We have an obligation to protect our tenants,” Peschio says. ” Partnering with Shaun and Stop Loss is one of the best decisions I ever made for my company.”