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Family of 11 escaped North Highlands house fire due to smoke detector, officials say

The fire devastated the family's home, but Sacramento Metro Fire says a smoke detector helped the family get out in time.

NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. — A family of 11 people lost their home after a fire broke out in North Highlands Monday morning.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District said the fire was initially threatening an adjacent home, but that home was ultimately saved.

"It was a very complex incident for a residential fire, but fortunately the crews were able to act quickly and decisively and they made a difference,” said Captain Parker Wilbourn, spokesperson for Sacramento Metro Fire.  

The firefight was caught on helmet camera video from the Sacramento Metro Fire crews.

“There was a whole wall of fire on that front of the house. They immediately went to work. They put hose lines in place. They went in, and they searched for victims," Wilbourn said. "In this case, there were multiple living spaces. There was an addition on the side yard and then obviously the occupancy of the home. There was even a shed in the back where people were living as well, so we had multiple places to search.” 

Wilbourn said this is just one of multiple recent house fires. The fire district runs about 110,000 calls a year for service, and they are asking everyone to be safe heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

“Just a few days ago, we did have two victims that were effectively pulled from a structure fire and they were revived,” he said.

With the fire in North Highlands, the 11 people living on the property were able to get out safely because their smoke detector alerted the family to danger. 

Sacramento Metro Fire urged everyone to ensure their family has a fire evacuation plan, a meeting place and regularly checked smoke detectors.

“Continue checking your smoke detectors monthly," Wilbourn said. "Make sure the batteries are good. Make sure they are operational. Test those smoke detectors.”

The cause of the North Highlands fire is still under investigation, and the Red Cross is now helping the displaced family.

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