Family saved by smoke detector after Racine FD installed it 4 years ago

RACINE -- A family is recovering after a fire breaks out in their Racine home that caused thousands of dollars in damages to the duplex. But a visit by the Racine Fire Department four years ago may have saved their lives.

It took firefighters just a few minutes to arrive on scene and knock down the fire. It turns out, it's not the first time they've been to the home. It was Wednesday morning, Aug 8. when Racine firefighters rushed to the home near 20th and Howe.

"Crews saw smoke so they declared it a working fire,"said John Magnus with the Racine Fire Department.

Investigators said a fire ignited in the kitchen. The homeowner was outside, playing with his daughter and a boy was inside as the fire slowly and quietly burned.

"The fire itself was a little fire," Magnus said.

Lieutenant Magnus said the fire produced thick smoke that set off a smoke detector.

"He heard the detector go off and didn't believe it at first," Magnus said.

Once on scene, a firefighter immediately recognized the home.

"I know this house. I know I was here," Magnus said.

It was the Fire Prevention Bureau that installed the same alarm that alerted the family. An image shows the four-year-old detector that sensed the danger.

"We had one of the firefighters take it off the ceiling and it had it in there... RFD installed back in 2014," Magnus said.


Things could have easily been much worse.

"The boy would not have been able to get out in a couple more minutes," Magnus said. "The smoke would have been too intense and same with the fire."

The house suffered significant smoke damage but firefighters are glad another life was saved.

"There is no better way to prevent a fire than to have early detection and get you out of the house," Magnus said.

The homeowner is staying with loved ones right now.

The Racine Fire Department will install free smoke detectors if you live in the city and own your home.

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