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Smoke alarm cited for saving life

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The Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service is reminding the public that working smoke alarms truly do save lives.

Firefighters responded to a house fire on the 900 block of Smith Avenue here shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday.

The home sustained heavy damage to the living room and kitchen but thankfully no one was hurt, Wayne Riches, captain of fire prevention and education, told the Times yesterday.

“The lone occupant was sleeping at the time and was alerted by the smoke alarm,” he stressed, noting the occupant left the residence and went to a neighbour's home to call 9-1-1.

“I just wanted to put it out there that, for sure in this case, the smoke alarm saved her life and allowed her to get out,” Capt. Riches said.

He urged everyone to ensure they have smoke alarms in their home and to test them to make sure that they're working.

And if your current smoke alarms are more than 10 years old, it's time to replace them.

“In this instance, if she didn't have a working smoke alarm, the outcome may have been a lot different,” Capt. Riches conceded.

“It reinforces the need to have smoke alarms and to make sure that they work.”

Capt. Riches said the exact cause of the fire remains undetermined at this point but it has been deemed accidental.

In other fire news, local firefighters responded to a vehicle fire around 5 p.m. on Sunday at a Sixth Street West residence.

The fire originated in the vehicle's engine bay and the vehicle was “a total loss,” Capt. Riches noted.

“It was a pretty substantial fire—lots of flames and lots of smoke,” he added.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and the fire did not damage the garage other than soot.

Capt. Riches said the fire department has had a very busy couple of months so far in 2019.

“We are up over 40 calls already,” he noted.

“You always have false alarms but there's a substantial amount which are significant calls,” he stressed, estimating there's been at least five structure fires.

Capt. Riches thanked the town's Public Works for being diligent in clearing snow away from the many fire hydrants around town.

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