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A Cautionary Tale on the Importance of Working Smoke Alarms
A Hillsboro resident climbed out of bed and made his way to the bathroom on the morning of Saturday, January 6, 2018. As he flipped the light switch, he was surprised that one of the switches was dead. On his way to check the breaker box, he noticed light smoke in the house. After opening the door to the attached garage, he found it filled with smoke. Once outside, he called 9-1-1 to report the fire and alerted the family in the adjoining duplex – prompting their safe evacuation.
Hillsboro firefighters arrived on Engine 1 to find smoke coming from the eaves of the duplex’s roof, as well as inside. The first responders quickly located and extinguished the active fire in the attic above both units.
Later, the fire investigator determined the cause: Damage in the electrical wiring running from the breaker through the attic. The fire investigator interviewed the resident and asked if either of the two smoke alarms in the unit sounded during the fire. The answer was no. Further investigation revealed that neither of the smoke alarms had been activated before they were installed.
“There is a reason that we instruct residents to check their smoke alarms once a month,” said Investigator Charles Marble. “If the resident had tested the alarm, he would have known that it wasn’t operational and been able to activate it. This fire could have had a tragic outcome with the loss of life if this fire had happened during the middle of the night as the families slept.”
Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives – Test Them Every Month
- Smoke alarms won’t prevent a fire and they won’t put out a fire. What they will do is alert you to a fire so that you can get out safely.
- Make sure that your smoke alarms are working by pressing the test button once a month.
- If your smoke alarms are 10 years old or older, replace them.
- If you would like for the Hillsboro Fire Department to come by and check your smoke alarm, give us a call at 503-681-6178.