Working smoke alarms help Indy homeowner escape early-morning fire

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A fire early Wednesday morning damaged a home on Indy's east side, but fire investigators believe the incident can serve an important safety lesson.

The fire took place in the in the 300 block of Good Avenue in Irvington.

The dining room and kitchen are covered in ash. The fire started while the homeowner slept.

"I think I've got three smoke alarms and they were all chirping and woke me up," said Rob Hays.

Hays recalls coming downstairs, seeing his home filled with smoke and running outside to call for help.

"I came around the corner and saw flames coming up from the basement and said it's time to go," said Hays.

Fire investigators claim the fire started in the homes basement, before quickly spreading to the main floor. They contend working smoke alarms in the home saved Hays' life.

"The cheapest and most effective way to make sure you can sleep soundly at night and know your family is protected is to have working smoke alarms in your house," said Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD).

Rita reminds everyone to have at least one smoke detector on every floor of their home, preferably one in every bedroom, and make sure they are checked every month.

"Push the button every month make sure it works. Make sure you can hear it. Play a game with your kids and test it when they're sleeping and see how long it takes for them to wake up," said Reith.

While he lost a lot of his possessions in the fire, Rob knows first-hand how that advice can keep people safe.

"A lot of stuff is family hand me downs, but that's okay. We can replace those. They're just things. I'm just glad the smoke detectors worked," said Hays.

Fire investigators think a dehumidifier in the basement is to blame for the fire.

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