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'If it wasn't for smoke alarms I wouldn't be here': Working smoke alarm credited with saving father and son

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Chris Ferrari and his son were inside their house in the 2500-block of Jos. St. Louis Avenue when fire broke out at approximately 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“Couldn’t breathe it was so bad,” Ferrari told CTV News Windsor.

He thought the smoke he was smelling was part of a dream.

“The whole time there was a fire and I didn't know it,” he recalled. “My son came yelling, ‘Fire!’ and then it clicked in.”

At first Ferrari dismissed the severity of the fire.

“I thought, ‘No, little fire. Put it out right?’” but when Ferrari went to investigate, he was greeted by suffocating smoke.

“I stayed low to the ground,” he said.

According to Windsor Fire Prevention Officer John Smith, Ferrari’s action was the right thing to do.

Firefighters responded to the 2500 block of Jos St Louis Avenue in Windsor, Ont., on Monday, May 21, 2024. (Bob Bellacicco/CTV News Windsor)

“It was good,” he said. “They stayed low, avoid inhaling of the smoke and both exited immediately.”

The fire started in the garage and caused approximately $600,000 in damage, leaving Ferrari and his son — who’ve been renting the home for the past eight years — without a place to live.

Most of the contents in the home were destroyed, and as their vehicles were outside they were damaged as well.

“My wallet was in the house. Keys. Right now I have nothing,” Ferrari said. “I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go. Right or left. Fires are devastating. Only good thing about it is we all made it out safe.”

“If it wasn't for smoke alarms I wouldn't be here,” Ferrari said.

Smith said this serves as a reminder to check fire alarms.

“Tenants all day should check,” Smith said. “Everybody should be checking their smoke alarm at least once a month and notify the owner, if not, replacing the batteries themselves.”

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but investigators said a fire rated door held the smoke and flames back for at least 20 minutes before it broke through into the home. 

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