The Main Stream

Apr 20, 2012 2:13 AM

Smoke detector credited for saving family's life

TUCSON - A Tucson family is out of a home, but thankful to be alive after a fire ripped through their house while they were asleep.

It happened Thursday afternoon, off Sandbrook Lane, just off of Shannon Road. A woman and her two babies were inside sleeping at the time of the fire, but they all made it out safely.

Firefighters said an accidental electrical problem caused the fire, but that's not why it got to be so big. They said it was combustible materials built up in the garage, including propane tanks that made the fire just blow up.

The then fire started the family was inside sleeping until a smoke detector woke them up; something the family credits for saving their lives.

Melissa Thrall is a victim of the fire. She said, "Every person or animal that was living and breathing was able to be saved because we had enough response time to get out."

A decision she said was a no-brainer.

Thrall said, "It was a big deal and we knew it. We rushed and my son helped me get the other child and our neighbors came to our rescue. They held the babies while I moved the truck out of the way. It was just incredible."

It was a nasty blaze not just to the victims; even the firefighters admit it was bad.

Brad Bradley is Battalion Chief of Northwest Fire District. He said, "Based on the number of combustibles in the garage they experienced a flash which forced all the crews out of the house and completely engulfed the garage and entry way to house in fire."

Thrall said, "It was a blessing to say the least that we were able to come out of here."

But what she came out to was a horrifying sight for anyone; a home burning to the ground, but amidst the ashes was hope shown in a sign that said "Bless This Home." Thrall said it really is a blessing because the alternative would have been much worse.

She said, "I just kept telling myself 'stuff is stuff.' It can be replaced. I watched my house get ripped apart, but it's going to be replaced one day. That's all I kept thinking. Stuff is stuff and my babies are okay. There is nothing else I can worry about now."

Firefighters said this fire really points out that people need to be careful with what they collect in their home or garage. Too much combustible material can turn a small fire into a huge one very quickly, which appears to be just what happened in this case.

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