Smoke detectors save family from house fire

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- Working smoke detectors probably saved the lives of a Valley family early Friday morning.

Fire ripped through a two-story home in the neighborhood southwest of Greenway Parkway and Cave Creek Road. It started at about 3:30 a.m.

Smoke alarms woke the family -- a mother, a father and their teenage daughter -- in time for them to escape safely.

The fire had fully engulfed the home and flames were shooting from the roof when firefighters arrived on the scene.

Crews believe the fire built up in the attic, giving it the power to break through the tile roof.

Firefighters said the family had a fire in the fireplace Thursday night. At this point, they believe that fire smoldered in the chimney and spread into the attic.

"The whole top of the fireplace was burning," said Richard Ksenich, a neighbor who watched the fire grow. "It was really flamin' -- 30, 40 feet up."

An investigator confirmed that the on-scene crews were right; the blaze was accidentally sparked by that fire in the fireplace.

Fireplace fires are not uncommon.

"You can create enough fire to cause your fireplace itself to catch fire," Capt. Forrest Smith of the Mesa Fire Department told 3TV's Javier Soto in early December when offering safety tips for people who were using their fireplaces for the first time this season.

A large fire in a small fireplace can quickly explode into something very dangerous, and it's an ongoing problem.

“Most people don't know that once a chimney fire starts, it is very difficult to put out,” Smith explained to 3TV's Fields Moseley just last week when they talked about the risks inherent in using a fireplace.

Firefighters have always advocated the use of smoke detectors. In fact, they say when it comes to protecting your family from a house fire, the best thing you can do, after removing hazards, is install working smoke alarms in your home.

“We know smoke detectors save lives,” said Capt. Scott Walker of the Phoenix Fire Department while demonstrating a new talking smoke detector in October.

That was proved once again Friday morning.

Crews were able to knock down the flames relatively quickly.

The home was destroyed, but no injuries were reported.