Smoke alarms alert local families of early morning fires

The residents of two homes, one in Auburn, the second in Algona, escaped with their lives from fires within hours of the dawn of the new year on Jan. 1.

In Auburn, smoke alarms alerted an Auburn family to an early morning fire, most likely saving the lives of a father and his two boys.

At approximately 4:01 a.m. Jan. 1, neighbors saw flames coming from a home on G Street Southeast in Auburn and called 911.

Firefighters from Valley Regional Fire Authority, South King Fire and Rescue, and Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority responded and found the front of the home in flames. The family had safely evacuated, thanks to a warning from their smoke alarms.

VRFA fire investigators say the fire began on the porch of the 3,400-square-foot home. The porch shared a wall and a window with the bedroom of a 6-year-old boy.

“The fire extended from the porch into the home by breaching the boy’s bedroom window,” said Deputy Fire Marshal John Monsebroten. “If not for the smoke alarms alerting the father, we could have had a tragic outcome.”

The home sustained an estimated $200,000 in damage to the structure and $80,000 to its contents. The cause of the fire is undetermined, though it most likely started in a plastic trash bag on the front porch, according to VRFA. The contents of the bag included discarded smoking materials, spent fireworks, an aerosol can and other combustible materials.

The American Red Cross helped the family with its immediate needs.

And to the south, 11 people are staying with family and friends following a fire that heavily damaged their Algona home on New Year’s Day. A resident of the home in the 200 block of 6th Avenue North called 911 at 2:55 a.m. to report smoke coming from the second floor.

Three fire engines, a ladder truck, and an aid car from the VRFA responded to the scene, finding flames and smoke coming from the attic and roof area. Fortunately, all of the residents had evacuated safely.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in under an hour, but the home sustained heavy damage. VRFA Investigators determined the cause of the fire, which began in the chimney and spread to the surrounding attic area, to be accidental in nature.

The VRFA reminds everyone to check their smoke alarms, practice a family fire escape plan, and dispose of smoking materials and spent fireworks in a closed metal container after thoroughly soaking them in water.