Smoke alarm saves residents from early morning blaze

Local News
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NORMAL — The Pantagraph says the Normal Fire Department is crediting working smoke alarms for alerting residents to an early Saturday morning fire on Augustine Way.

The fire broke out in the basement of the home, said the department. No injuries were reported, but the residents were treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation.

The fire, at 302 Augustine Way, broke out around 4:53 a.m. The homeowner told MetCom dispatchers the house was filling with smoke and they were getting out, NFD said in a news release.

Firefighters arrived a few minutes later and reported smoke coming from the front door of the home. They fought heavy fire in the basement level of the home while other crews searched the home for potential victims.

A second alarm was sounded that pages off-duty firefighters to report to their station and requests an engine company from Bloomington Fire Department to provide a Rapid Intervention Team for crews working inside.

Firefighters had the main fire knocked down in about 20 minutes, but they continued to extinguish hot spots and ventilate  the home for about another hour, said NFD.

“In this situation, everyone was asleep in the home, but working smoke alarms woke them up and earned them that there was a fire in time for them to escape,” said NFD Public Information Officer Matt Swaney.

“In a fire, the toxic gasses in the smoke can render you unconscious in a few breaths. If you’re asleep and the smoke alarms don’t work, you may never wake up,” he added.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOU from the NFPA

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. 
  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. 
  • Install alarms on every level of the home. 
  • Install alarms in the basement. 
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

For information on installation, maintaining and interconnecting smoke alarms, CLICK HERE.

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