ALBERTON -- Alberton resident Kim Millar knows the value of a working smoke detector.
“I’m telling you, if it wasn’t for the smoke alarm, we would probably not be here, because this house was full of smoke and flames,” Millar said Monday, one day after being awoken by a blaring smoke alarm.
It was around 5 o’clock Sunday morning that Millar jumped out of bed to investigate what had set off the alarm.
“It wasn’t very strong-smelling down the hall but I thought it might have been a back-draught or baffle from my wood stove,” she said.
Millar said she was only three or four steps outside of her bedroom when she noticed the situation was much more serious than she thought. “I saw the flames shooting over the fridge,” she said. “There were flames, actually, running along the ceiling at that time.”
She woke her daughter and a friend from another bedroom and they escaped up the hallway, passed through the front corner of the kitchen, into the living room and out the front door. They brought two pet dogs out with them, including one that Millar thinks tried to alert her to a potential problem two hours earlier. He had jumped on her bed but she pushed him off.
Millar, still bare feet, then rushed around the house, up the back verandah and helped her brother, Curtis Butler escape out a back door. His two cats escaped at that time.
While the extension to the bungalow, where Curtis lives, suffered only light smoke damage, the rest of the Dufferin Street home has to be completely gutted. The loss is protected by insurance.
, if it wasn’t for the smoke alarm, we would probably not be here, because this house was full of smoke and flames - Alberton resident Kim Millar on being woken at 5 a.m. Sunday by a smoke alarm
Damage is so severe that Millar’s son went to school Monday wearing borrowed clothes.
Millar said they have been told the repair job will take a minimum of three months. Millar and her family are taking up residence at the Briarwood Inn until her home is repaired. Her husband and one of her sons recently went west to work. While they are anxious to get back home, she said she has encouraged them to stay where they are.
Butler will be staying with his mother until repairs to the house are completed.
Millar praised the fire department for its quick and effective response. It is the second time in three years the department responded to a fire at her home.
The heat from the fire grew so intense that the cover on an aquarium, located in a back bedroom melted. The eight fish in the aquarium perished.
The provincial fire marshal ruled the fire accidental. Millar said it was caused by the cord for her blender, which was plugged in behind her fridge. “It wasn’t a proper behind-the-appliance blender,” she said, in explaining the fire marshal’s finding. She held up the cord for the fridge, which lays flat against the wall when plugged in, and the blender cord which was bent from the pressure of the fridge.
“They said, possibly from opening the fridge door and shutting it, it’d wiggle a little, and it wore out,” she said in giving her understanding of how the cord gradually gave out.