Family’s home saved from a fire by little red fire hat

Posted at 6:29 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 18:29:08-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A little red fire hat led the McCliman family to connect with the Grand Rapids Fire Department and their residential safety program.

The program, started back in 2013, gives families the opportunity to get life-saving carbon monoxide and smoke alarms installed free of charge.

That smoke alarm was essential to the family's safety and ultimately kept their home intact when a fire broke out in the kitchen on Tuesday. If it were not for the smoke alarms installed only a few months ago, and planning on their part in case a fire ever did happen, they say the home would be gone.

The family was in the backyard playing with their daughter when they heard beeping going off, but weren't sure where it was coming from. After a few moments, multiple beeps were sounding.

That led to some investigating and the eventual realization that their kitchen was on fire.

They quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames, luckily getting in there in time to contain it to just around the stove. The family is now working through the clean-up but is ever grateful for the GRFD's program that saved their memories and their home.

"Plan it out in your head," says Dani Vilella, the owner of the home whose kitchen went up in flames.

She said she and her husband talked about what would happen if they had a fire. They discussed whose job it would be to take care of their daughter and whose job it would be to check the house.

That plan kept them from freezing during the fire. She says that every family needs a plan for emergencies like this.

GRFD encourages everyone to call 311 to set up an appointment if you are unsure about the state of your alarms.

They will come out, survey the situation and potentially even install additional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for free. The department is closing in on adding these alarms to their 10,000th home and would love to do thousands more in the future.