Pampa man survives fire in home without working smoke detector - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Pampa man survives fire in home without working smoke detector

Fire damage at a home in Pampa (Source: KFDA) Fire damage at a home in Pampa (Source: KFDA)

A Pampa man is lucky to still be standing today after a weekend fire.

“It’s a blessing,” said Brandie Wallin, describing the remarkable circumstances around her neighbor’s survival. "The good Lord just was with him this day, I guarantee that."

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Early Sunday morning, a fire broke out in a Pampa home. The occupant, Walter Miller, was able to escape through a window and suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

According to Wallin, he did not have a working smoke detector.

"He's lucky to be out. This is a result of no smoke alarms and also a space heater,” said Wallin.

Justin Roberts, Fire Marshal for the Pampa Fire Department, notes the importance of having a working smoke detector in your home.

"More often than not, smoke detectors are the first line of defense as far as detecting a fire,” said Roberts. “If the batteries aren't operating, and the smoke detector is not operating properly, then there's chances that they'll get trapped."

This weekend marks daylight saving time, which serves as an annual reminder for people to check the condition of their smoke detectors and change out the batteries.

"They're easy reminders for people to remember when to change the batteries,” said Roberts. “You can do two different options. One is to use the daylight savings time to spring forward and fall back. Another option is to use Christmas and the Fourth of July."

Despite not having that working smoke detector, Miller is a survivor.

Now, Wallin and other members of the community are coming together to help him pick the pieces back up.

"He has nothing, he has no family or anything. So I'm going to do everything I can with the community's help and support to get him back into his home,” said Wallin. “Any kind of volunteer work, materials, anything is going to be a blessing to us.”

Wallin, along with Katy Wilde, owns “Paying it Forward in Pampa,” getting community members together to give back to each other. After the fire at Miller’s home, Wallin took him in, giving him a place to stay. Now, locals in Pampa are coming together to clean up the fire damage and start to rebuild the home.

“I’ve had two very dedicated workers out here already that have made such an impact on getting the clean-up done,” said Wallin, referring to volunteers Sam Hagemann and Jaclyn Hale. “They’re a blessing to us, as well.”

In addition to the hands-on help, one Pampa resident is donating materials like sheetrock and tar paper, while others are offering electrical and roofing services. However, they still need help – both hands-on and materials – to rebuild.

To get in touch with Wallin or Wilde, visit the Paying it Forward in Pampa group on Facebook.

With the help of the community, brick by brick– or in this case, wood, sheetrock, and more – the home will be pieced back together again.

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