Woman witnesses house fire: urges everyone to install smoke alarms

Hoover Fire Fighters
Hoover Fire Fighters

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - It's no secret that smoke detectors save lives. But knowing that, doesn't always mean homeowners install them. Just ask Michelle Fogle.

"I've been here about four years and never made it a priority until I witnessed a house go up in flames," says Fogle.

She saw the house across the street from hers burn down a few weeks ago. She was the one who called the fire department. Now she wants everyone to make the effort to get their fire safety plans in place.

"I highly recommend spending the little bit of money to protect your family's safety," urges Fogle. "After seeing something like that, the next day I went and purchased fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide fire detectors and installed them."

That's why she invited Hoover Fire Fighters to her house today, to check her home for any potential fire dangers. The home inspections are a free service offered by most departments.

Fire Inspector RW Wilkey says he wishes more people would take advantage of it.

"We actually used to go around to neighborhoods and do random inspections, but now we go only if a homeowner calls us," says Wilkey.

The first thing they do, is check a home's smoke detector. Hoover Fire department will actually install the devices for free, thanks to a new grant.

"There are two different types of smoke detectors, one is quicker at picking up smoke, the other is quicker at sensing fast growing fires," says Wilkey.

Wilkey says if you don't know what kind of smoke detector to get, check the packaging carefully. Most will identify where they should be installed. Just one in the hall, is not enough.

"There should be one in each and every bedroom, just inside and above the door," says Wilkey. They should also be outside in the hall.

"Smoke detectors should be outside of all sleeping units. So if you have a split bedroom design house you should have one on one side of the house outside the bedrooms and one on the other side of the house."

If you have children in the house, Wilkey says you should consider a detector that talks, instead of beeps.

"There have been some studies in the past few years that found that children respond better to voice commands rather than the traditional beeping," says Wilkey.

Fogle says she urges everyone to have a smoke detector and fire extinguisher on hand.

"It's very important and you don't realize it until you actually see the devastation you can do."

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