Harrod Creek, KY,
18
April
2014
|
03:00 PM
America/Chicago

One Woman’s New Alarm Saved Her Home - And Five Cats

Home monitoring system played major role

The alarm sounded just as Joyce Miller was about to step out the front door. Her first reaction wasn’t panic, but confusion – there was no burning smell, no heat coming from anywhere on the first floor. But when she went to the second floor, she looked into a bedroom and saw flames stretched from floor to ceiling.

She closed the door on the flames and ran downstairs, calling out for her five cats, hoping to get them to safety before the fire reached the rest of the house. As she looked for her pets, the alarm company called to confirm there was a fire, telling her they had dispatched the local Harrods Creek (Ky.) Fire Department.

Knowing she didn’t have much time, Miller quickly put one cat in the car and backed the car out of the garage. She found another cat and put it in the garage with the doors closed. But try as she might, she couldn’t find the other three cats.

“Common sense comes into play and you realize you have to get out,” Miller said. Hoping the cats were safe wherever they were hiding, Miller hurried out the back door.

A Lesson From Her Neighbor

Miller installed a home monitoring system in her Prospect, KY home at the recommendation of her State Farm agent.

“I had always wanted to do that,” Miller said. “But it’s one of those things you put off.”

Miller and her late husband were longtime customers of State Farm. Denny Vogel, the Miller’s State Farm agent, said he often talks to customers about the benefits of a home monitoring system. But the most powerful selling point is the endorsement of a friend or neighbor who had an experience (burglary) like Miller’s.

“I definitely use it as an example, especially in this neighborhood,” Vogel said.

“I don’t think I realized how great a monitored fire alarm system was,” Miller said, “until the morning of December 11, 2013.”

A Matter Of Minutes

The fire department arrived at 8:08 a.m., just six minutes after receiving the call from ADT. They saw smoke coming from the eaves beneath the roof and worried the fire had spread to the attic.

Firefighters proceeded upstairs to the bedroom where they found a mattress engulfed in flames, caused by a malfunctioning electrical outlet. They knocked down the flames and dragged the bed downstairs into the yard to finish putting out the fire. Though it seemed like an eternity to Miller, it took just 90 minutes for firefighters to save her home.

She found two of the missing cats under a bed downstairs. The other emerged from the basement when the ruckus died down. Now, three months later, repairs to the house are almost complete, and Miller and her cats are getting back to normal.

If a home security system had not been present, it is possible Miller would not have heard an alarm at all and would have continued to leave her home that morning. And she might have inadvertently left the fire to grow. She could have come home to nothing but ashes.

“Even if she had battery operated smoke detectors, nobody would have been there to hear them,” said Major Steven Hanson of the Harrods Creek Fire Department. “We could get there in five minutes or less, but if a fire’s been cooking for 45 minutes, there’s not much to save when we get there.”

The alarm sounded just as Joyce Miller was about to step out the front door. Her first reaction wasn’t panic, but confusion – there was no burning smell, no heat coming from anywhere on the first floor. But when she went to the second floor, she looked into a bedroom and saw flames stretched from floor to ceiling.

She closed the door on the flames and ran downstairs, calling out for her five cats, hoping to get them to safety before the fire reached the rest of the house. As she looked for her pets, the alarm company called to confirm there was a fire, telling her they had dispatched the local Harrods Creek (Ky.) Fire Department.

Knowing she didn’t have much time, Miller quickly put one cat in the car and backed the car out of the garage. She found another cat and put it in the garage with the doors closed. But try as she might, she couldn’t find the other three cats.

“Common sense comes into play and you realize you have to get out,” Miller said. Hoping the cats were safe wherever they were hiding, Miller hurried out the back door.

A Lesson From Her Neighbor

Miller installed a home monitoring system in her Prospect, KY home at the recommendation of her State Farm agent.

“I had always wanted to do that,” Miller said. “But it’s one of those things you put off.”

Miller and her late husband were longtime customers of State Farm. Denny Vogel, the Miller’s State Farm agent, said he often talks to customers about the benefits of a home monitoring system. But the most powerful selling point is the endorsement of a friend or neighbor who had an experience (burglary) like Miller’s.

“I definitely use it as an example, especially in this neighborhood,” Vogel said.

“I don’t think I realized how great a monitored fire alarm system was,” Miller said, “until the morning of December 11, 2013.”

A Matter Of Minutes

The fire department arrived at 8:08 a.m., just six minutes after receiving the call from ADT. They saw smoke coming from the eaves beneath the roof and worried the fire had spread to the attic.

Firefighters proceeded upstairs to the bedroom where they found a mattress engulfed in flames, caused by a malfunctioning electrical outlet. They knocked down the flames and dragged the bed downstairs into the yard to finish putting out the fire. Though it seemed like an eternity to Miller, it took just 90 minutes for firefighters to save her home.

She found two of the missing cats under a bed downstairs. The other emerged from the basement when the ruckus died down. Now, three months later, repairs to the house are almost complete, and Miller and her cats are getting back to normal.

If a home security system had not been present, it is possible Miller would not have heard an alarm at all and would have continued to leave her home that morning. And she might have inadvertently left the fire to grow. She could have come home to nothing but ashes.

“Even if she had battery operated smoke detectors, nobody would have been there to hear them,” said Major Steven Hanson of the Harrods Creek Fire Department. “We could get there in five minutes or less, but if a fire’s been cooking for 45 minutes, there’s not much to save when we get there.”