Dec 26, 2013 5:40 PM by Akeam Ashford

Smoke Detectors Save Family's Life

Just after 1:30 this morning, Lafayette firefighters responded to a house fire in the 100 block of Amber Street.

The owner, Virginia Wiltz, and her husband were asleep when their daughter heard the smoke detector.

"Seconds make a difference, because by the time I got to the end of the hallway where the bedrooms are, there was black smoke. I have never seen anything like it," Wiltz said.

Lafayette Fire Department Captain Alton Trahan says the family is alive today because they recently checked their smoke detectors.

"They're very fortunate because without it they probably wouldn't have woken up in time," Trahan said.

By the time Wiltz and her family went to leave their bedrooms, heavy smoke and flames had already filled the entire house.

"When I saw it, I said we need to get out of the house. You could feel the heat coming from the living room and kitchen area," Wiltz said.

Investigators determined an aluminum electrical outlet in the living room overheated and started the fire.

Trahan says homes built in the 1960s and '70s will most likely have aluminum wiring. He suggests homeowners hire a qualified electrician to check.

"The connections within the outlets, junction boxes, or switches, they deteriorate or loosen over time and that's where you have the overheating. If you don't have them check it's unfortunate something like this could happen," Trahan said.

While the family waits to find out the extent of the damage, Wiltz says she blessed to have her family.

"When you go through something there's always a silver lining they say. I see my silver lining; we walked out of that house."



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