UPDATED with Slideshow: Savannah townhome fire ignites importance of smoke detectors

Photo by Shantez Herrington

SAVANNAH, Ga. – A Savannah family of six woke up in a hotel Monday morning after surviving a devastating fire.

Shortly before 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Southside Fire and EMS worked for hours to contain the fire at the Stonecreek Townhomes, but the home is a loss.

Shanice White and her family, including her five-month-old son and their pet rabbit,Oreo, all made it out alive. Southside Fire told WSAV the smoke detectors did not go off and were twelve years old.

“Every second counts in that event when smoke inhalation is a very deadly thing,” Southside Fire Captain David Cartee said. “It only takes a few seconds and you can be overcome, so every second counts.”

Cartee says fire, unlike people, doesn’t sleep.

“In the middle of the night when everybody is asleep, your chances of waking up are very slim,” he said.

Southside Fire recommends people check their batteries twice a year and suggests checking when the time changes. People are also supposed to change their devices every four to five years.

Cartee also recommends getting a detector that picks up on smoke and carbon monoxide. Finally, he advises families to have a plan outside the home if fire strikes.

“[Families need to know] what exits you’re gonna go to get out of the house and then something else you need to have a rally point in front of the house where all the members come together,” he suggested.

Cartee also stressed that any home in Chatham County can have their detectors checked for free just by contacting their local fire department.

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