February 19, 2011 7:37:00 PM
A smoke detector may have saved the life of an Oktibbeha County man this week when fire broke out in his home on Blackjack Road.
R.L. Bell Jr. was dozing on his couch Wednesday evening at 1435 Blackjack Road when he was awakened by his smoke detector. Bell was able to exit his home and call 911, but the fire already was causing significant damage, Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said.
East Oktibbeha Fire Department arrived on the scene and encountered a blaze which already had taken possession of the entire attic, Rosenhan said. Volunteer fire companies from Bell Schoolhouse and District 5/Oktoc also responded and worked with East Oktibbeha for several hours to extinguish the blaze.
"It was a pretty stubborn fire," Rosenhan said.
The single-story home, located 50- to 75 yards off Blackjack Road, and nearly all of its contents were destroyed. No injuries were reported.
The cause of the blaze was a defective fireplace flue, Rosenhan said. The flue extended from a wood stove through Bell''s attic, where the fire started. Firefighters had to tear down part of a wall to get to flames inside the wall.
Rosenhan is encouraging local residents to check the batteries in their smoke detectors regularly and test the devices to make sure they are working.
"Having smoke detectors is a good thing," he said. "You see what happened out there."
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