Woman credits smoke alarm with saving life

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 9, 2006

A Brookhaven woman was sleeping when the blaring of a smokealarm in her bedroom awakened her to swirls of gray-black smokelast week.

Deidre Redd, of 234 Rogers Circle, said the fire alarm likelysaved her life and she hopes her story will help promote October asNational Fire Prevention Month and lead others to invest in fireprotection equipment.

“If it hadn’t been for that fire alarm I probably wouldn’t haveever woken up,” Redd said. “I have asthma and the smoke probablywould have caved in my lung before the fire ever got to me.”

Instead, she said, she was able to leave her bedroom anddiscover that smoke “was pouring” from one of her children’s rooms.She left the house and called the fire department.

Fortunately, her husband Cleveland was taking the children,DeMarkus, 11; Titus, 8; and La’Darius, 7, to school at the time ofthe fire.

The fire started in the room of the two youngest children, Reddsaid.

“They lost everything in their room. The rest of the house hassmoke damage,” she said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, Redd said, but thefamily believes sparks from an electric toy may have started thefire.

“They had a lot of remote control cars in the toy box in thecorner where the fire started. We think it must have started fromone of them,” she said.

The Redd family has been replacing sheetrock, roofing and all ofthe contents of the children’s bedroom while repairing smoke damageto the rest of the home. They hope to be able to move back into ittoday.

As part of the rebuilding process, Redd said the family is alsoinstalling fire extinguishers at key locations in the home.

Every home should have fire extinguishers or, at the very least,smoke alarms, said Brookhaven Fire Chief Bob Watts. The earlywarning provided by the alarms saves lives somewhere every day, hesaid.

Firefighters will be working with the public at a variety oftimes and places throughout the month to promote fire safety, Wattssaid.

School and day care children will have an opportunity this monthto tour the fire station and view the fire trucks at their schoolduring community outreach programs.

Whether children visit the station or the truck comes to them,the most important element to the activity is stressing firesafety, Watts said.

During the visits, he said, the students are taught to stop,drop and roll if fire catches them and to understand the family’sor school’s emergency evacuation plan.