Baby Doll’s Cry Saves Family From House Fire - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Baby Doll’s Cry Saves Family From House Fire

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By Adam Ghassemi

LA VERGNE, Tenn. – A 17-year-old girl, her mother and boyfriend were sleeping when their laundry room caught fire shortly before 3:30 a.m. Monday. The home's fire alarm had just been checked a week earlier, but according to officials, it didn't go off, and another sound alerted them to the problem.

A doll, handed out in the girl's class at La Vergne High School to teach teenagers about parenthood, started crying and woke the girl up. Moments later she realized something wasn't right.

"She heard the sound of what ended up being cracking glass. She thought it was her mother getting ready for work," said La Vergne Fire Marshall Victor Woods.

Investigators said the fire quickly moved through the home's attic, giving the young woman just enough time to get her family outside.

"The daughter wanted to go back in and retrieve her car keys and it was beyond that point," Woods said. "If another minute or two had gone by it could have been a very different outcome."

Connie Oeser was smoking on her front porch a few streets away and ran when she saw the flames.

"Please God let them be alive. That was my thought," Oeser said recalling jumping fences to get to the family, who she doesn't know, long before firefighters could arrive. "The mother was quite upset, so I just leaned down and hugged her and said look at it this way, you're alive, your children are alive."

Monday fire investigators were scanning burnt debris to pinpoint how this started while neighbors, like Silvia Newton, can't believe a doll is the reason the family survived.

"I know those babies and they're really scary, they're really real. They act real, they cry all the time, they're annoying like babies," Newton said.

The family is doing fine and staying with relatives, but they didn't want to speak on-camera.

Woods said he can't pinpoint what caught fire in laundry room, but the family used their dryer hours earlier.

Fire investigators said "ion" detectors are good for detecting open flames, but don't typically do well with a lot of smoke or a smoldering fire. In this case, the family's ion detector was near their bedrooms, but the fire was in the laundry room on the other side of the home.

Another type is "photoelectric" that do exactly the opposite. They are better in smoke, and not open flames. There are also units that detect heat. Woods said you can buy one unit that includes all three types of detection or buy them individually.

Regardless of what you buy, he said the features are worth the extra money up front to keep your family from being at risk.

"Another thing that I generally recommend is a detector that has a silence button on it for things like if someone burns some toast, it sets it off frequently while cooking. That tends to make people want to take them off the wall and they do no good when they're sitting on the counter somewhere," said Woods.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
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