2013-08-03 / Editorials & Letters

Alarms, extinguishers save lives


Only recently, I learned that one of my favorite tenants is also a volunteer firefighter in Newark. She didn’t plan it...it just happened! A few months ago at 4 a.m., Jessica was awakened by the smoke alarm and found herself surrounded by smoke. She rushed into her sons’ bedroom and they ran down the stairs to safety outside. She went back into the kitchen area and found flames shooting out the front of the microwave which was setting on a stand made of metal and glass.

Jessica said she quickly unplugged the microwave and cleared anything flammable from the area...throwing back the curtains, tossing cookbooks and other items. She ran across the kitchen to grab the fire extinguisher which she wasn’t sure how to use....but it worked!

Most of us would probably stop there but not Jessica! No time to think...she just picked up the microwave and ran outside with it throwing it onto the driveway. It was too large to go through the window. Jessica had some burns and lost the hair on her arms. The worst, she said, was coughing up black stuff for several days from all the smoke.

She told me she was so grateful for that fire extinguisher that she replaced it right away and bought extinguishers for all her relatives. She credits the smoke alarm with saving their lives. She said in another 5-10 minutes, the house would have been on fire.

She bought the microwave several months earlier at a yard sale and now wonders if that was a poor choice. Who would ever guess a microwave would catch on fire at 4 a.m.?

Her story is worth repeating because it’s a great reminder to all of us how important these devices are for our family’s safety. All of us (homeowners AND tenants) need to remember to change the batteries - check them today!

Jessica saved my property because she kept those batteries fresh in the nearly five years she lived there. But more important, SHE SAVED HERSELF AND HER CHILDREN.

For that, I am SO grateful. And now that we all know Jessica’s story, let’s all check the batteries in those alarms and check the condition of your extinguisher.

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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