A husband and wife had retired for the night when a fire broke out around 10 pm Dec. 11 at their home and business located on Hwy 75 just north of New Waverly. New Waverly Fire Department Spokesman Jimmy Williams said they reported that their home’s smoke alarm began sounding, and when the male occupant opened the front door he discovered that their enclosed front porch was heavily involved in fire. The couple scrambled to escape out the rear, with the female occupant escaping through a back window. They did not have time to retrieve their cell phones and were unable to call 911.
As the fire began to spread into the home and adjacent shop, passing motorists called 911 bringing New Waverly Firefighters to the scene. Williams said the first crew from the nearby station on Hwy 75 arrived within a couple of minutes of the first 911 call and were soon joined by other units from New Waverly, Huntsville and North Montgomery County. Firefighters were able to utilize a pond on the property for a water supply and soon brought the fire under control, but not before the home and shop were heavily damaged by the fire.
The fire appeared to originate on the front porch near a wood burning fireplace, but New Waverly Fire Investigators will be working with the homeowner’s insurance company to determine the exact cause of the fire, according to Williams.
The husband and wife escaped without any warm clothes, but one of the 911 callers gave her winter coat to the female occupant. The male occupant was checked out by Walker County EMS for minor burn injuries but was not transported to the hospital.
Fire Officials credit their working smoke alarms for their narrow escape, giving them time to seek out an alternate escape route. This is the second fire in recent weeks that could have resulted in tragedy if not for the presence of working smoke alarms.
On Nov. 17, two elderly residents were sound asleep when an early morning fire broke out on the porch of their home on Emerald Lane off FM 1374. Williams said that fire started from a heat lamp used for warmth for their animals and threatened to trap them in their home as well, but they were alerted by smoke alarms and escaped without injury.
With the onset of colder weather and the holiday season, we are entering the peak season for home fires. Statistically, more home fires occur across the nation during the months of December, January, and February than any other time of year. The majority of these fires are related to cooking and home heating, with most fatal fires caused by portable space heaters.
The number #1 step residents can take to safeguard lives is to insure that their home is equipped with working smoke alarms. Just having working smoke alarms cuts your chances of dying in a home fire in half. Senior citizens and small children are at the greatest risk of dying in a home fire due to their inability to quickly respond to a growing fire.
Residents who own their own home and need assistance with their smoke alarms are encouraged to contact the New Waverly Fire Department at 936- 344-6911 and request assistance. Firefighters will come to your home and install free long life smoke alarms to help keep your family members safe.
Residents living in rental homes or apartments should notify their landlord in writing if they do not have smoke alarms. State law requires rental property owners install smoke alarms in every bedroom, adjacent hallway and living rooms.