Langford Fire Rescue fire prevention officers Lance Caven

Langford house fire offers cautionary tale

Working smoke detector might have reduced fire damage

A Langford couple were lucky to escape injury recently after an overnight fire ripped through the kitchen of their house.

The incident has prompted Langford Fire Rescue officials to raise the alarm about the importance of having working smoke detectors in one’s home.

“These people were very lucky to escape,” said fire prevention officer, Insp. Lance Caven.

The fire was confined to the kitchen and a detector was located nearby. “At some point they had taken the battery out,” he said. “Luckily the woman woke up in the night, went down the hall and found the fire.”

By the time the man was up, the smoke was so thick he didn’t know where his partner was, said Caven’s fire prevention counterpart, Insp. Chris Aubrey.

“Twenty or 30 years ago materials were a lot different, there was a lot of wood,” he said. “Today there’s a lot more plastic. Fires burn a lot hotter and faster than before.”

As a precaution, the upstairs couple were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. While the fire was limited to one room, the home suffered smoke damage throughout the upstairs.

A downstairs tenant had no idea there was a fire until the trucks arrived, Caven added.

Some homes have smoke detectors hard wired, negating the need for batteries, and in some cases the upstairs and downstairs devices are linked, he said.

The close call has firefighters encouraging people to test their smoke alarms every six months to make sure they’re all in good working order.

Aubrey says people often make the assumption their detectors are working if they haven’t heard them go off in some time. As well, placing a device too near the kitchen can create false alarms, he added.

Langford Fire Rescue offers a free in-home smoke alarm check for residents that includes free replacement of any battery powered devices older than 10 years.

Advice is also given on options for hard-wired detectors, which are advisable since they don’t require batteries, Aubrey said.

For information on the program, or other information about smoke detectors, call 250-478-9555.

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