Saved by the smoke alarm
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Oct 23, 2012 | 2476 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Firefighters say smoke detectors saved the lives of a Mountain House woman and her teenage son Monday, Oct. 22, while a fire the night before in rural Tracy left a man homeless when his mobile home was destroyed.

According to Tracy Fire Department Division Chief Andy Kellogg, a 6:18 a.m. fire raged through the first floor of a single-family home on the 400 block of Thomas Avenue in Mountain House on Monday.

Kellogg said a smoke alarm awoke the residents, who ran outside into the rainy morning, shoeless in their pajamas.

“They came down the stairs and looked to the right and saw the flames and ran out the front (of the house),” Kellogg said.

The division chief added that the alarm probably saved the pair.

“Thanks to the functioning smoke detectors in the home, the occupants were able to escape without injury,” he said. “People take fire prevention seriously around here. Not sure if it’s due to the education we do or what contributes to it, but I think most residents in this area do a good job being prepared and taking precautions.”

Firefighters from Station 98 in Mountain House reported seeing flames leaping out of the back first-floor windows, Kellogg said. The flames were reportedly so high, they were scorching the house’s second floor.

“There was a lot of heat and a lot of fire,” Kellogg said.

Additional firefighters and engines from stations 91, 94 and 96 also arrived to battle the blaze.

Although firefighters had the fire under control in about 22 minutes, Kellogg said, it had already destroyed the first-floor living room and kitchen, and the second floor was damaged by heat, smoke and water.

Fire investigators believe the fire started in the front living room. Firefighters are working to determine the fire’s exact cause, according to Kellogg, who said the loss was estimated to be $105,000.

The woman and her son declined help from the American Red Cross and sought refuge with family members.

Firefighters also responded to a conflagration that destroyed a mobile home on the 20800 block of South San Jose Road northwest of Tracy around 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

When firefighters arrived, the mobile home and two nearby vehicles were engulfed in flames, fire officials said.

The flames, fanned by high winds, also spread to nearby grassy areas, starting several small fires.

Because the rural area lacks hydrants, Kellogg said firefighters used a water tender to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby storage building.

The fire was under control in a half-hour, leaving one man homeless. He reportedly turned to relatives for help, officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and damage was estimated at about $45,000.
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