Smoke detectors save family of five


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 7:18 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 4 at 4:05 PM

Map: Chandler Boulevard and Mountain Parkway (40th Street)

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PHOENIX -- A family of five is alive and safe this morning because they had working smoke detectors in their home.

A fire broke out in the garage of a home in the area of Chandler Boulevard and Mountain Parkway at about 3:15 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the mother, the family moved in about a month ago.

She said she jolted awake, thinking she smelled smoke. Seconds later the smoke alarms sounded.

She woke up her children and hustled them out of the house. "We got out before it got big," Charles Thomas told 3TV's Jill Galus.

"I was so scared that I couldn't even run out," N'Sayshable Thomas said. "I just stopped for a minute."

Firefighters say garage fires can be particularly tricky because many people use the space to store flammable and potentially toxic items.

It not clear what sparked the fire, but the flames gutted the Thomas' garage, destroying everything inside, including a car.

After ripping off the garage door to get inside, fire crews contained the worst of the fire damage to the garage, but the rest of the house sustained smoke and water damage.

No injuries were reported.

The Thomas family learned first-hand what firefighters throughout the country always say: Working smoke detectors save lives.

Firefighters say there should be at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. The best place to install them is near sleeping areas.

Simply installing smoke detectors, however, is not enough. Safety experts say you need to test each unit every month and, for the ones that run on 9-volt batteries, replace the batteries every year.