Yuma, Arizona - On Sunday at 1:15 am a fire was reported in the area of the 1700 block of west 27th Drive. Yuma Fire Department personnel arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from a home located at 2704 South 18th Avenue. Firefighters protected nearby homes and extinguished the fire.

The fire was discovered by the homeowner who happened to be awake and found flames coming from the garage. There had been three occupants home at the time of the fire and all were able to safely evacuate.  The home sustained heavy damage to the garage and some of the interior living spaces. The home was not able to be reoccupied and the American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist those who were displaced by the fire. Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of this fire.

Every year 2000 to 3000 people die in fires here in the United States. It is estimated that half of those that died may have lived, if there had been a working smoke alarm in the home. Most homes these days are equipped with smoke alarms, but due to poor maintenance (often batteries are found to be dead or disconnected) many fail to work properly when a fire occurs.

Batteries should be replaced at least once a year and alarms tested monthly (and alarms replaced every 10 years). Combine these tests with doing home fire drills (your kids do them at school and they are just as important at home!) and your children will be more likely to recognize the sound of the alarm and take the proper action in a real emergency. Smoke alarms save lives, and they are some of the cheapest insurance you can buy, but they will do no good if they are not working properly.