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Quick Thinking and Working Smoke Detectors Help Save Family Home

At first glance, Grace Ahmed's home on Howard Street in Burlington doesn't reveal the chaos that unfolded just a few hours before. “My husband and I woke up to all the smoke detectors going off,” said Grace Ahmed, who woke up to a fire in her home.
BURLINGTON, Vt.- At first glance, Grace Ahmed's home on Howard Street in Burlington doesn't reveal the chaos that unfolded just a few hours before.
“My husband and I woke up to all the smoke detectors going off,” said Grace Ahmed, who woke up to a fire in her home.
After getting up Ahmed noticed a flickering light coming from her son's bedroom.
“I went into that room and saw them standing next to the flaming bunk bed and just yelled for them to get out,” said Ahmed.
Everyone including Ahmed's husband and four children made it out safely. The family cats survived as well.
“Everyone is safe and that's a blessing,” said Ahmed.
Barry Simays, the Burlington Fire Marshal says the fire started because two of the kids were playing with matches in their bedroom.
The charred bunk bed and thoughts of what could have happened serve as a reminder that fires are much more common in the winter.
But Simays says the family did everything right.
Before evacuating and calling 911, acting on instinct, Ahmed did one last thing that helped contain the fire.
“They closed the door to the bedroom which held the fire into that bedroom and that's what limited the damage, so they are credited with saving their own house,” said Simays, Burlington Battalion Chief and Fire Marshal.
“All morning I had been wondering if I had closed that door. I was really happy when the fire marshal came and told me that I had,” said Simays.
Saving your family and home start with having an emergency plan in place. 
And most importantly check the batteries in your smoke detectors and do it often.
“Those devices are your first line of protection they will notify you they will save your lives, but they have to be installed properly and working properly,” said Simays.
Something Ahmed says she's very thankful for.
“That was like a life or death thing to have those smoke detectors,” said Ahmed.

The Vermont and New Hampshire Upper Valley Chapter of the Red Cross responded to Saturday morning’s fire as well. It was their 30th call for assistance since January 1st.
For the time being the family is staying with relatives across town.
While the structure as a whole is stable, almost the entire second floor needs to be renovated.


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