Smoke alarms credited for saving Columbus man's life

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COLUMBUS, Ind. – Working smoke alarms are being credited for saving a Columbus man’s life after his home went up in flames.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. Saturday in the 1500 block of South Drive.

The Columbus Fire Department believes the fire originated in the basement. It took two and half hours to contain the blaze. 

Brian Bush says seeing his neighbor’s home go up in flames really puts things into perspective.

“Makes you worry about long terms things and not about material possessions,” Bush said.

Bush was awakened by the unusual sound of his neighbor knocking and asking for help.

“It’s a pretty quiet area here so this kind of commotion at 4 o’clock in the morning is unexpected,” Bush said.

Bush says when he walked outside all he saw was a cloud of smoke and flames. 

A CFD spokesperson says when they arrived, they found smoke coming from the basement of the home.

They say crews attempted to push into the basement, but there was just too much smoke and heat coming off the fire, so crews were forced to retreat.

“The wife and kids were gone so it was just him in the house,” Bush said.

Fire crews ended up attacking the blaze from the outside.

The homeowner told firefighters he was asleep when the fire started.

“Smoke detectors went off and because of that, he woke up and opened the door and realized it was full of smoke and tried to put out the fire,” Bush said.

The fire department says the fact the man was able to escape the fire proves having working smoke alarms can save lives.

“As soon as the fire department left, that’s the first thing we did was check and replace our batteries in the smoke detectors,” Bush said.

 The fire department says the man was able to escape with two of his pets, but the other one went missing during the commotion.

“He got a hold of the dog and the kitten, but the big cat, they weren’t sure where it was,” Bush said.

 That was until a few hours later. The cat was spotted safe and sound back near the home.

 Fire crews say the home is a complete loss, and damages are estimated to be about $270,000.

 Bush is happy his neighbor made it out alive.

 He says it’s a reminder to always tell your loved ones that you love them.

“After something like this, it makes you want to stop and reflect. Make sure you tell you loved ones you love them, and don’t worry about the material possessions in life,” Bush said.

 The CFD says families should always have a fire escape plan.

Just as a reminder, you can get free smoke alarms from the Red Cross, and your local fire department can even help you install smoke detectors if needed.

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