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Milwaukee firefighters hand out smoke alarms and batteries in neighborhood where young girl died

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Vanessa Lee's body was found close to where a fire started in her family's kitchen, and their downstairs apartment did not have batteries for its smoke alarms.

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Vanessa's 8-year-old nephew Timothy Lee and her mother, Gail Johnson, were both treated at hospitals for smoke inhalation.

All three were found in a bedroom next to the kitchen and the children's aunt said a working smoke alarm could have saved Vanessa's life.

Officials said the fire might have been sparked by an electrical problem in a water cooler.

Four people in an upstairs apartment escaped unharmed.

Their unit had working smoke alarms.

Nine people have been killed in Milwaukee fires since January of last year and six were in homes without working smoke detectors.

The city requires homes to have working alarms on every floor that's occupied, plus the basements.

Landlords must install them, and tenants must keep them working. Milwaukee Fire Chief Doug Holton says it's an inexpensive way to keep families safe. But even so, two-thirds of the houses where Milwaukee firefighters responded from 2005-2007 did not have smoke alarms.

Another 17 percent had detectors which were not operating.

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