Family grateful for smoke detectors

Now is a good time to replace the batteries on your smoke detector!

This weekend's time change not only meant an extra hour of sleep, but firefighters are hoping Hoosiers also took advantage of the opportunity to change batteries in their smoke detectors.  Following that advice saved one family from a small fire that could have had much larger consequences.

"We heard the beep from the smoke detector, and my wife Chea said, 'What is that?'" said Rob Carmack.

It was the beep that saved the Carmack family's life.

"This is the smoke detector we put in years ago right by our laundry room.  That's the one that went off.  Our laundry room is right here," said Carmack.

Right where their clothes dryer caught fire in the middle of the night on Saturday while they were sound asleep upstairs.

"The flames lapped up here, they were coming out of the back," said Carmack.

Carmack believes the fire started small in the lint trap, but grew fast. To make matters worse, the laundry room is right under the staircase that leads to their bedroom.

"Our only means of escape would have been up in flames.  We would have had to jump out of our second story window," said Carmack.

But that early warning gave them just enough time to call 911 and take some control of the situation.

"I just went push, push and that was it," said Chea Carmack, holding a fire extinguisher.

"And the dryer; we got it out this far," said Chea.

"It only takes a minute or so, and we can go from a smoldering fire to a rip-roaring fire that can sweep through a home really quick and people not have a chance to escape," said Capt. Mike Pruitt, Wayne Township Fire Department.

That's why firefighters preach smoke detectors save lives - provided they have working batteries.

"We're literally shocked by how many people that have smoke detectors in their house but don't have batteries in them," said Capt. Pruitt.

It's the reason firefighters say to use the time change twice a year as a reminder to change your batteries.

"They're so cheap - they're so easy to install. Change the battery twice a year. It's the easiest and best thing you could do for your family's safety," said Carmack.

His family is living proof of that.

Rob and Chea Carmack say when they built the house, they only installed one smoke detector.  Since then, they've added several more in key spots including that one right outside the laundry room.  They believe that is the one that saved their lives.