There are several lessons to be learned here. First, the majority of all home fires start in the kitchen; most often due to careless cooking. Firefighters emphasize: "Watch what you heat!"
Secondly, smoke detectors save lives. Mr. Voelker indicated that he's "no light sleeper" and was surprised that the smoke detector was even able to wake him. "I'm convinced I wouldn't be here to tell this story if it weren't for those smoke detectors, Voelker added. His investment in installing hard-wired smoke detectors with battery backup paid big dividends. The smoke alarm was still beeping when firefighters disconnected it from the wall.
This year's Fire Prevention Week theme was: Practice your escape plan! If your house catches fire, get out -- and STAY OUT!
Belongings can be replaced. Purchase a fire-safe box if they can't. Carbon monoxide, a by-product of combustion, has an intoxicating effect. A few more moments, a few more breaths of toxic smoke -- and the resident may have been overcome and rendered unconscious. This person got lucky. He survived to tell his story.
Too many people have died trying to re-enter a burning building to retrieve their assets. It's just not worth it. Please learn from his mistakes.
"If my coming forward to tell this story saves just one life, or affects the outcome of another fire, it's worth it. I can't say enough about the jobs our volunteer firefighters and police officers do. They're tremendous," added Mr. Voelker.
Evans Center was assisted at the scene by the Highland Hose Volunteer Fire Company, Town of Evans Police, Rural Metro Medical Services, Angola Fire Control Dispatch Center National Grid Power Company, and Fr. Joe Bayne, Chief Chaplain of the Erie County Department of Emergency Services. The Lake Erie Beach Volunteer Fire Company was on standby at Evans Center's Erie Road Firehouse.