Lufkin couple escapes Thursday morning house fire

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jeff Awtrey - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - A smoke alarm is credited with saving the lives of a Lufkin couple who lost their home to a fire early Thursday.

Lufkin Fire Marshal Lee Fran Skelton said John and Joan Pope woke up to the alarm at 2:45 a.m. Firefighters could not save the house, located in the 2900 block of McKinney.

Skelton said one dog escaped the blaze, but another died in the fire.

The couple are members of Denman Avenue Baptist Church and Joan Pope works for the church as a secretary. Minister of Music Ron Meadows said the church had given them a check Thursday morning to buy some clothes and other essentials. They had insurance on the house, Meadows said.

Assistant Fire Marshal Steve McCool said the fire started in the garage, when an electrical outlet connected to a space heater overheated and sparked a fire in the wall. The fire reached a car in the garage and a gas-powered generator, which fueled the fire.

"This is the second time in a matter of months that a smoke alarm saved lives," McCool said. "For $10, it saved two people. They were sound asleep when the alarm sounded. Another few minutes, and they wouldn't have been able to get out."

The fire also destroyed the car in the garage and caused heat damage to another parked outside.

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