Three Merrill residents credit their smoke detector with helping them escape a house fire early this morning.
Merrill Firefighters were called to the home on East 7th Street at just before 1:00am this morning. The fire was brought under control and eventually extinguished in difficult conditions. The temperature with windchill was nearing -10 below zero, with the winds also pushing the fire.
Officials say all three occupants were sleeping when the fire started. One of the residents was awoken by the smoke detector. He was able to crawl to the other two bedrooms waking occupants. All three were able to rescue themselves prior to the arrival of the fire department.
The home and contents inside did suffer damage, but no injuries were reported. The cause is under investigation.
The Department also used this instance to remind residents of the importance of smoke detectors. They say approximately 2/3 of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Since most fatal fires occur at night it is essential to have working alarms, which will increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50%.