This weekend, a family escaped from their burning home and fire officials said their fire alarm may have saved their lives.
The fire happened Saturday afternoon at 313 Cordova Drive right by the Old Wilson Street Elementary School.
The Dothan Fire Department arrived on the scene within five minutes of receiving a 911 call at 4:48 p.m. Firefighters brought the flames under control in approximately 20 minutes.
The house suffered heavy fire and smoke damage.
The fire department is categorizing the incident as a major house fire because the home sustained too much damage for anyone to live in it.
All the occupants were able to escape the home and no one suffered physical injuries.
The battalion chief stresses the importance of installing and maintaining smoke detectors, especially as cool weather sets in and people are beginning to use heaters.
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Smoke Detector Safety
Almost half of all home fires and three-fifths of fire deaths occur in homes with no detectors.
- Your chances of dying in a home fire are cut in half if you have a working smoke detector.
- There are more homes with smoke detectors that don't work, than homes without any detectors at all. These poorly maintained units create a false sense of security.
- Two-thirds of fires involving a fatality happen in residential buildings between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. when the occupants are more likely to be asleep.
- The most dangerous period is 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
- Wall-mounted detectors should be installed so the top is 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
- Ceiling-mounted detectors should be installed at least 6 inches from any wall.
- If a room has a pitched ceiling, mount the detector at or near the ceiling's highest point.
- In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position detectors in the path smoke would follow up the stairwell.
- Mount detectors at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading to a basement or mechanical room. Dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent smoke from reaching a detector located at the top.
- Don't install a detector too close to windows, doors or forced air registers, where drafts could interfere with the detector's operation.
- Batteries weaken with age and must be regularly checked and replaced, generally every 9 to 12 months.
- Test your smoke detectors at least once a month, following the manufacturer's instructions. Both battery-operated and electric smoke detectors become less effective with age. If your detector does not respond to the recommended test procedure (usually by pressing a test button), change its batteries. If it still does not perform, replace it.
- Clean your smoke detectors following the manufacturer's instructions. Cobwebs and dust can generally be removed using a vacuum cleaner attachment. Never paint any part of a smoke detector.
Source: www.nfpa.org (National Fire Protection Agency Web site) contributed to this report.