Fire Damages Home of Benton Athletic Director

Published 07/15 2014 04:39PM

Updated 07/15 2014 10:40PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) - A St. Joseph family is encouraging everyone to check their smoke detectors after they escaped a fire from their home on Osage Drive Monday night.

Benton High School Athletic Director Mike Ziesel said he's thankful his family heard the smoke alarms and got out safely.

"We're fortunate that it went off and and kinda woke me up," Ziesel said. "We weren't in our beds but we were down below and then we could smell the smoke. Thank goodness for smoke detectors."

Firefighters say a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the first thing in your home that can alert you of a fire.

"It's crucial to have working smoke detectors," said Bill Lamar with the St. Joseph Fire Department. "I don't think people realize how quick the fire will escalate and grow. You only have just moments to get out of the house safely."

The fire tore a hole in the roof of the family's home and caused $40,000 in damage.

Because the family lives outside city limits, a lack of fire hydrants made it difficult for firefighters to fight the flames.

"I was sitting up there with a garden hose trying to squirt it down because I felt like I needed to do something," said Ziesel.

Fire crews had to shuttle water in to help put the fire out.

Investigators believe an electrical issue is to blame for starting the fire in the home's attic.

Ziesel says they plan to rebuild.

"Life doesn't go on if you're not alive so you need to be smart about what's important and this is material," he said. "Material things can be replaced. Memorabilia things, well, that's why we have memories."

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