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Dec 31, 2013 7:42 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson man wakes to smoke alarm, alerts neighbors of fire

TUCSON- Hassad Mohamed won't soon forget this New Year's Eve.

His west side apartment is destroyed, after a fire broke out in his kitchen Tuesday morning.

It happened at an apartment complex in the 1600 Block of West El Rio Drive.

Hassan was the only one home at the time of the fire. When the smoke alarm sounded, he woke up, called 911, then alerted his neighbors. "I was yelling 'there's a fire! get out!" Mohamed says.

One of those neighbors, 10 year old Nancy Lown, was sleeping. "My grandma came in my room and she screamed 'fire!'" Lown says.

For a moment she feared the flames might spread to her family's unit. "I thought it would go to where I live, because I live right behind the apartment," Lown says.

But thanks to Mohamed's smoke alarm and quick thinking, crews contained the fire within four minutes. "That particular building had eight different apartments in it, so you can imagine, if a smoke alarm doesn't go off, if he's not able to get out quickly and call 911, then that fire is going to be growing exponentially," says Captain Barrett Baker of the Tucson Fire Department.

While the fire displaced several families, Mohamed is just grateful everyone made it out okay. "We can buy and replace things tomorrow," Mohamed says. "It's nothing, so we thank God that's it."

Fire investigators say the cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction in the kitchen.

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