Smoke Detectors Save Lives—Really, Says Parsippany Fire Captain

A Mt. Tabor fire captain says a recent call showed just how valuable detectors are and why it's vital to have them.

A local fire captain said it's important to pay attention to the lessons learned during town emergenices. One such lesson came during a Sunday early morning call that came in to the Mount Tabor Volunteer Fire Department regarding a fire report at a home on Strowbridge Road.

District 1 Fire Captain Bryan Crawford said the home had experienced problems with its gas fireplace.

Upon arrival, MTVFD fire fighters noted that a suitcase and newspaper left near the fireplace caught fire.

"Thankfully, the homeowners had working smoke detectors and they were woken up by them activating," said Crawford. "They were able to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher before it could spread."

The department reported that the home experienced minimal damage thanks to the working detectors and the residents' quick work.

Crawford said residents should take heed.

"Even though a lot of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors say you don't have to replace for 10 years, we see many models start to fail after about five years," he said. "Sometimes they just need to be cleaned out from dust and dirt, and sometimes they just give up."

He said batteries are another issue.

"Even if you have a hardwired system, if the power goes out and you do not have a battery backup, you could be without the protection of the smoke or CO detectors," Crawford said. "The family on Strowbridge in Mount Tabor was very fortunate to have working smoke detectors since it was about 1:45 a.m. when then fire started."

The fire captain offered a serious warning to citizens.

"You will not wake up from the smell of smoke if you are asleep," he said, underscoring the importance of functioning detectors. "Carbon Monoxide will do its harm before you even know what's going on."

He added that because of the location of the fire in the Strowbridge home, right near the front door, egress from the residence would have been extremely challenging had the blaze been allowed more time to grow stronger and hotter.

Crawford said this should impress upon everyone the importance of having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and making sure they are tested regularly with updated batters to ensure that they remain in good working condition

"There is no question that working smoke detectors saved this family, their dog and minimized the damage to the home," he said.



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