Terrace’s deputy fire chief is reminding the public to check that smoke detectors are in working order following a small basement fire on the Bench yesterday morning.
At approximately 7:20 a.m. on Jan. 29, the Terrace Fire Department responded to a call on Gair Avenue after residents in the home smelled smoke.
“There was a lot of smoke in the house, with a very strong odor of electrical or plastic burning,” says Terrace Fire Department deputy fire chief Dave Jephson. “We found some contents in the basement that were on fire, some baskets and stuff on a workbench near the electrical panels…. we know for sure that for some reason, the detectors did not go off.”
Jephson says the two people that were inside were not hurt and did not suffer from any smoke inhalation. It took the fire department approximately an hour to deem the site as safe.
He says the couple did the right thing by calling emergency services immediately upon detecting the smoke as crews were able to extinguish the fire before it spread to the rest of the house.
“The occupants had vacated the residence immediately… now they’re probably going to spend time with their family while they investigate what happened in the house,” Jephson says. “They also have to get rid of all the smell from the smoke.”
From what Jephson observed on location, he believes the basement was in the midst of renovations and did not have a working smoke detector nearby on that level. He says it’s fortunate they were able to smell smoke, warning that the situation could have been a lot worse.
“I would throw caution out there as many times when people do renovations, the first thing that comes off is the smoke detector,” says Jephson. “It doesn’t matter if you’re renovating or moving, you need to have a smoke detector even if it’s a portable one with a battery in it, we encourage everybody because that’s code to have one in each house.”
He adds many people lose their homes and even their lives because they were unable to prioritize having a working smoke detector in their home. He says there is no excuse for someone not to have them in their household as they’re inexpensive. If a family is really struggling financially, there are community programs in place with the Terrace Fire Department and the local Canadian Tire to arrange one.
Jephson also says that a lot of items are made with flammable material these days, meaning a small fire can quickly turn destructive so he urges the public to make the 911 call immediately instead of trying to deal with a fire themselves.
“For example, a grease fire in the kitchen will double every 30 seconds so then it’s not on the counter top anymore but all over the cupboard,” he explains.
“We have those smoke detectors to give us warning… so you can call and get out of that house immediately.”