Smoke alarm saves family, but not home

A working smoke alarm is being credited for saving the lives of a Maple Ridge family whose townhouse was damaged by fire Tuesday.

The blaze started around 7:30 p.m. in an upstairs bedroom of the Birchmores’ house, located in Richmond Court, 21555 Dewdney Trunk Road.

The fire triggered the alarm, which alerted the mother, who ran upstairs to find her son, who has cerebral palsy, in his bedroom, which was engulfed in smoke.

Assistant fire chief Mark Smitton said that wouldn’t have happened if the smoke alarm has been disconnected or had no batteries that didn’t work.

“This saved their lives,” he added.

The mom, her 17-year-old son and three-year-old daughter fled the house to safety.

Firefighters arrived to find flames and smoke billowing out of the home, but were able keep the fire from spreading.

Everything in the boy’s bedroom was destroyed.

“He has an electric guitar that he thrives on and lost his Playstation,” said Smitton.

The fire department has pinpointed the cause of the fire to an electrical problem.

A neighbour has set up a trust account to help get the family.

Smitton said they will need to find another place to stay until their home is repaired.

Canadian statistics show that without a working smoke alarm, chances of not surviving a fire increase by 74 per cent.

Smitton said Tuesday’s fire is a good reminder for people to check their smoke alarms to make sure they are working as well as practice an escape plan.



Donate: You can help the family by making a donation at TD Canada Trust.

Account Name: “Graham Arthur Laverty and Michael J. Bygrove in Trust for Loreen M. Birchmore.”

Transit : 91030.

Institution No: 004.

Account: 91036355183.


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