Clinton Man Credits Smoke Detectors With Saving His Life
A Clinton man who survived a fire that destroyed his house Saturday night is crediting his smoke alarms for his getting out in time.
"We've got carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. We've got them placed over the downstairs where the fire originated," Gene Machael said.
"And that's what saved my life," he added.
Machael says the last time he changed the batteries in his smoke alarms was a few months ago. Now, he's very thankful he did.
He says he still can't wrap his head around the loss of the house he's called home for 27 years, but he is just grateful he kept up with the maintenance of his smoke detectors so they worked when he needed them.
"I was in the living room watching TV with my dog. And I tipped my chair back and was going to take a little nap. Just about the time I tipped my head back and was going to take a nap, the fire alarm went off," he recalled.
Machael got out before flames spread through the house, and he immediately called for help.
The damage the fire left behind in the home is estimated to be about $120,000. But, the Machaels say they hope to have their home restored within the next couple of months.
"We lost a home that we've lived in for a lot of years in a beautiful part of the country our here. We've got to rebuild it," Gene Machael said.
"It's really hard to see. We had a comfortable really comfortable life," said Gene's wife, Carol.
"We had pictures we really cared about of family members and things that are sort of irreplaceable that will never be available to us," she explained.
But, she says those things are worth far, far less than lives.
Firefighters say this is a reminder of why it's so important to change your smoke detector batteries.
"They're the only thing that can alert you 24 hours a day, whether you're awake or sleeping, of a fire," said Clinton Fire Department Lt. Michael McQuistion.
Firefighters tell us items stored too close to the water heater are to blame for this fire.