Couple escapes early morning house fire in Chandler

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Investigators are working to determine what sparked an early morning house fire.

It happened at about 3 a.m. in the neighborhood southwest of McQueen and Riggs roads.

Video from NewsChopper 3 showed firefighters spraying the interior through a hole in the roof. Firefighters were still mopping up the scene at 8 a.m.

The couple living in the home awoke to the smell of smoke. When they got up to check it out, they saw smoke billowing from an attic vent.

The couple called 911. They were safely outside when firefighters arrived.

"From what I understand, the room was filled with smoke," Keith Welch of the Chandler Fire Department said. "That's what happens when it starts in the attic. It hides and it stays up there for a long time. But then it's just building and building and building. Usually when that happens ... it can cause a lot of damage to the house."

Crews said they kept the fire from spreading beyond the attic. Investigators have not determined what sparked the fire, but they said it might have been an electrical issue.

The home was equipped with working smoke detectors.

Safety experts all over the country consistently say that having working smoke detectors is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

"They are a part of your home that needs maintenance," Welch explained. "They need to be checked every year and the batteries need to be replaced. They also need to be blown out to make sure that the sensors are working properly. That's why a lot of people get the chirping."

Welch said there should be an alarm in every room, particularly sleeping areas.

Because a house fire doubles in size every 30 seconds, time is of the essence for those inside. Once a fire starts, you have less than five minutes to get everybody out safely. Having a working smoke alarm can give you that time.

Firefighters suggest you check the batteries once a month and replace them once a year. Units that run on 9-volt batteries should be replaced every 10 years.

Firefighters say that with the holidays approaching, fire dangers in many homes increase dramatically.