On Thursday January 19, 2012 the Fort Erie Fire Department responded to a reported fire in a residence on Murray Street. Firefighters arrived to find that the fire was out, no one was hurt, and damage was minimal. This does not make for a sensational story. What does, are the elements that came together for a successful outcome.
The family was awoken by the sounding of a smoke alarm. Mom got out of bed, and investigated the source of the alarm. What she found was a fire in and around some cleaning supplies she was using the night before, that she had left on the kitchen counter. Also, the fire had started to spread to her curtains. The two children were ordered out of the house, and mom grabbed the cordless phone to call 911. The 12 year old son, remembered that the neighbor was a volunteer firefighter, and went next door to raise the alarm. Rob Foster, the volunteer firefighter sprang into action and grabbed his fire extinguisher. He quickly extinguished the fire, before it had a chance to spread to the kitchen cupboards and other structural members of the house.
This is how things are supposed to work, but often they do not. Often the critical element of this story is missing, the smoke alarm. Had the smoke alarm not been working, early detection of the fire would not have occurred. Mom would not have had the chance to evacuate her family. The quick thinking teenage son would not have had the chance to notify the volunteer firefighter neighbor, and he would not have had a chance to extinguish the fire in the early stages.
All to often, the outcome is not like this. Often we see that the fire is not detected until it is in the advanced stages. When critical damage to home, and family have occurred.
Fire Chief Larry Coplen reminds all residents that not only is it the law to have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, it is the right thing to do. Don’t put yourself, your family, and your volunteer firefighter neighbors’ safety in jeopardy. Make sure you have the appropriate number of Alarms, and they work. Fines for not having working smoke alarms in a residence can be as high as $ 50,000 per offence.
If you have any questions about smoke alarms, or other fire safety issues, please feel free to contact the Fire Department at any time. 905-871-1600.
Fire Chief Larry Coplen