Having a functional smoke detector can save lives

Lufkin resident, John Pope, checking his smoke detector.
Lufkin resident, John Pope, checking his smoke detector.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "Without it, I don't know if we could've gotten out. We were both sound asleep," said Lufkin resident, John Pope.

Exactly one year ago, Pope says a smoke detector saved his family from fire.

"Even though you sit there and you see it, and you're cleaning it up and stuff, you still remember that night. I remember the sound. The popping sound," said Pope.

Although he lost everything, including one of his dogs, Pope says it's impossible to put a value on having a smoke detector.

"Even if it just saved that one dog alone's life, it meant that much to me," said Pope.

Having a smoke detector alone makes you two times more likely to survive if your house catches fire.

"In the last year, we've actually had a few lives that were saved as specifically as a result of the smoke alarm, waking them up and helping them get out of the house quicker," said Lufkin Fire Marshall, Steve McCool.

Fire officials are using the stories of survivors to remind folks to use the device. Pope says checking his every six months is always at the top of his "to do" list.

"First when we got to this house, before we moved in, we replaced the smoke detectors. They mean that much to us now," said Pope.

His wife, Joan, says it's become a personal mission to help friends outfit their homes with the inexpensive investment.

"We've had a number of friends to install smoke detectors and tell us that they did because of our story," said Joan Pope.

Officials say the more the better, but just one detector is proven to make a difference in getting out alive.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.