Smoke alarm credited with saving Chandler family

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A loud beeping sound around 3 a.m. Friday morning saved a Chandler family of eight. Two grandparents, their two children and four grandchildren made it out of their home near Frye and Arizona Avenue because they had a working smoke detector.

Joseph Morales, 14, thought he was dreaming when he heard the smoke alarm but then he heard his dad's voice telling him to get out of the house because it was on fire.

"When he opened the door a whole bunch of smoke came into the house," said Joseph Morales.

Homeowner Maryann Morales and her husband grabbed hoses and started spraying water on the fire until firefighters arrived. A spokesman for the Chandler Fire Department said the blaze started on the back patio and quickly spread to the attic, a bedroom and bathroom.

"We've determined the cause to be tied to electrical on the back patio in the area of the dryer," said Battalion Chief Bill Evans.

Maryann Morales said her daughter installed the smoke alarm three years ago after another family home burned to the ground because it did not have a working smoke detector.

"I thought it would never happen to me and its happened twice to me," said Maryann Morales.

Most of the family's clothes and furnishings are charred from the fire and their home is a total loss.

Maryann is still counting her blessings because the family made it out alive.

"If that fire detector wasn't up there, we would have died," said Maryann Morales.

"It will save a lot of lives if you put them in your house," said Joseph Morales.

The American Red Cross is helping the family. The family plans to stay with relatives.

If you would like to make a donation to the Morales family, please contact Adeline Ortiz at 602-481-0514.