New Whiteland homeowner applauded for quick decision made after discovering fire in bedroom


NEW WHITELAND, Ind. — The New Whiteland fire chief is crediting a homeowner’s quick thinking after a family of five made it out of their home safely after a weekend fire.

From the outside, you’d have a tough time knowing there was a fire here at the home, but Saturday night just after 10, a fire started in an upstairs bedroom. Thankfully, all five people inside and their dog made it out safely.

“One of the homeowners was asleep in the master bedroom and woke up to the fire in the house,” said New Whiteland Fire Chief Dale Saucier. “As that homeowner left the bedroom, he shut the door. And it’s likely that’s a big reason why this fire wasn’t worse.”

He added, “I don’t think he even knew why he did it. Subconsciously, he just did it.”

“Close before you doze” is a fire safety tip to close your door before you go to sleep. Chief Saucier is passionate about this topic, and he’s seen the dramatic difference it makes. 

“All the years I’ve been doing this, this is one of those things we’ve seen the doors closed and we’re like, ‘Man, that door was closed, and there’s hardly any damage on the other side of it.'”

Saucier continued, “By closing the door, it cuts off the oxygen going into that room that the fire needs to spread. And that was the case on this call.”

According to Saucier, the crews that went in and attacked the fire didn’t have to use a lot of water to extinguish it.

While there’s still interior damage and the family is still displaced, their home is still standing.

With colder temperatures on the way. and many people soon resorting to space heaters, Chief Saucier is reminding everyone to take a few seconds to make your home safer in case of an emergency. 

“The simple step of closing this door will help limit the fire and save your family in the event of a fire.”

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

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