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Family narrowly escapes house fire

By Ed Brock

Clayton County firefighters arrived at a burning house to find the three occupants soundly asleep in the bedroom.

Clayton County Fire Department Company 5 responded to the fire at 8346 San Jose Trail off Walt Stephens Road near Jonesboro around 2:12 a.m. Wednesday, Fire Chief Alex Cohilas said. Neighbors had called about the fire.

"We had all three occupants who were at home were totally unaware that their home was on fire and that we had arrived," Cohilas said.

The fire had begun in the kitchen where some food left on the stove melted some nearby plastic items that ignited the cabinets. Firefighters removed the occupants, an adult man and woman and a child, and the woman did suffer from smoke inhalation.

Cohilas said the home had battery powered smoke detectors that appeared to be inoperative.

"Had the neighbors not called when they did and we had not had such a good response time I feel certain we had a good chance of having three fatalities," Cohilas said, adding that he was especially proud of how his personnel handled the fire.

The incident is a good example of the need to replace batteries in battery-powered smoke detectors at least twice a year, Cohilas said. He recommended changing the batteries when changing the clocks during Daylight Savings Time.

A Clayton County police officer who responded to the scene also had to be treated for smoke inhalation and one of the firefighters was treated for heat exhaustion. They were both treated at the scene.