Lufkin family of 7 credits smoke alarm with saving lives in early Tuesday fire

Veronica White says the smoke alarm saved her family's lives.
Veronica White says the smoke alarm saved her family's lives.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Morgan Thomas - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin firefighters say a smoke alarm saved eight lives early Tuesday in a fire which destroyed a home on Carver Street.

Veronica White was sound asleep with her twin toddlers when she woke up to the sounds of her brother trying to put out a small fire.

"He was running around trying to find out where it was and it was in my room," said White.

She says their smoke detector alerted her brother about the fire. He tried to put the fire out, but it quickly got out of control.

"Watching the fire how it spread so quickly," said White.

Fran said firefighters arrived at the home before 1 a.m., but it was fully engulfed. The fire was under control within 20 minutes, but the home was destroyed.

The family, which includes two three-year-old twins, their mother, grandmother and three teenagers, had just had the smoke alarms installed in March, during the Lufkin Fire Department's campaign to install smoke alarms.

Assistant Fire Marshal Steve McCool says they targeted homes in the neighborhood after a house fire death early this year.

"It's not unusual for a house to become fully involved in seven to ten minutes. And without that early warning of the smoke detector you chances of surviving a house fire like this is cut in half," said McCool.

Home Depot donated the smoke alarms to the fire department.

The family says their smoke detector device saved their seven lives and their dog.

"Please get a fire alarm because if it wasn't for the fire alarm... It could've been a family of eight to go away today," said White.

The results from a preliminary investigation say it was clothing to close to a space heater in the bedroom that started the fire.

"Keep anything that will burn at least three feet away from that heater," said McCool.

The family says they're thanking god they all survived... which McCool says he's confident wouldn't have happened if that smoke detector hadn't been installed.

The family is getting help with clothing and food from the Red Cross.

If you would like to help - they're taking donations at Genco Credit Union and Sutherland Credit Union under the name of Beulah White.

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