Deputy Fire Marshal says smoke detectors could have made for different outcome in Chili fire

Posted at: 01/24/2013 11:33 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Fire officials say had United Postal Service carrier Barb Langdon taken her break, The outcome on Golden Road may have been much different. It's a story about timing. Langdon was the warning for this family, but firefighters say that warning should have come from a smoke detector.

The Chili Fire Chief thinks the fire, had been smoldering for some time before the call came in.

Investigators say the home did not have working smoke detectors, which would have alerted the family. Tonight, the Chili Deputy Fire Marshal, Dave Saur spoke with News10NBC about the lessons we can all learn from something like this.

“What happened today probably shouldn't have happened,” said Saur.

At 10:19 a.m., the call came in to 911, for a fire at a home on Golden Road in Chili. The fire happened to be spotted by mail a carrier who normally doesn't work this route.

At 10:23 a.m., the fire department arrives. About two minutes later, a 67-year-old woman is climbing out of a window with the help of mail carrier Barbara Langdon. Moments after, a 27-year-old woman and her infant daughter are rescued.

At 10:33 a.m., the younger woman's 4-year-old son is found in the house and rescued. Everyone is out, but they are seriously injured.

Something deputy fire marshal and former chief Dave Saur says should not have happened.

“Basically a fire grows every 20 seconds. I mean 20 seconds means a lot in this case,” Said Saur. “I did not hear any detectors going off period.”

Saur says not one smoke detector in the house worked.

News10NBC wanted to know what can be learned from this horrible incident that can improve your chances of surviving a fire like this. Saur says it's simple. Smoke detectors save lives. Saur said if they would have had a working smoke detector in their house, they might have been warned earlier, and had more time to get out.

“If you have a smoke detector it warns you and you get out. Your going to smell something, you're going to feel the heat or whatever...time's on your side.”

Saur also talked about having an escape plan in case of fire.

“If you have younger children especially, talk to them, sit down. If you hear a smoke detector going off, you see fire, you exit the house and you meet at this place.”

All four family members are in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital, suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.