BURLINGTON — Working smoke detectors saved seven people after their home caught fire early Wednesday morning, but the family still doesn’t know where they will be living for the holidays.
Firefighters responded to a 5:44 a.m. Wednesday call at 173 W. State St., according to a press release from the City of Burlington Fire Department.
Following the fire, many in the community have stepped up to help the family, which includes five children — ages 12 to 4 months. Burlington Mayor Jeannie Hefty has been helping collect belongings and clothes for the family.
Roszette Burkhart, whose family was displaced by the fire, said she is grateful everyone is alive. But when they left the house they just had the clothes on their backs, no coats or shoes.
The introduction to a gofundme account a neighbor started states, “I’m starting this page to help make their Christmas a little bit better. Please help and donate to a great cause. Thank you and Happy Holidays to you all. God bless.”
As of Thursday evening the fund had raised $1,200 for the family, which is temporarily living in a hotel and also was affected by flooding over the summer.
The fund can be found at: www.gofundme.com/wvd3j-house-fire
Smoke detectors help
According to the Fire Department, smoke detectors at the home allowed all residents to safely evacuate the home and call for help.
Fire crews arrived to light smoke on the exterior of the home but discovered moderate smoke and heat conditions on the second floor. Crews were faced with heavy smoke and heat in the attic, and the fire breached the attic floor, extending from a void wall space on the second floor.
As of Thursday afternoon, the cause of the fire was still under investigation.
In a release, the City of Burlington fire officials reminded members of the public to make sure their homes are protected by working smoke alarms.
“Half of all home fire deaths happen at night, when people are sleeping,” the release said. “Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, in every bedroom and outside all sleeping areas. You need a working smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement.”
The department recommends using interconnected smoke alarms because when one sounds, they all sound.
“Remember a smoke detector with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all,” the release said. “Resolve to test all of your smoke alarms to make sure that they are working.”
The department advises residents to replace smoke detectors when they are 10 years old or if they don’t make a sound when tested and to make sure everyone in the home knows how to get outside and where to meet if the smoke alarm sounds.