‘Lucky’ resident survives blaze
May 6, 2003
An apartment fire caused by melted candle wax could easily have killed the sole occupant from smoke inhalation because her smoke detector didn’t have a battery, a firefighter with the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District said.
The woman woke up from her sleep choking on the smoke caused by the 2:15 Monday morning fire. Drapes caught fire when candle wax melted from a nearby heater, said Capt. Mark Novak.
“It’s not a typical reaction to wake up to smoke,” Novak said. “Smoke usually dulls your senses. She was very lucky.”
The fire, which occurred at Western Sunset Apartments on Kahle Drive, caused minimal damage and could have been doused with a pot of water, Novak said.
Novak said the fire was a good example of keeping combustible materials away from heaters and checking the batteries in smoke detectors every month. Batteries should be replaced twice every year, such as when the time changes, he advised.