Smoke detector saves Harrison Co. woman from fire - - The News for South Mississippi

Smoke detector saves Harrison Co. woman from fire

A Harrison County woman is happy to be alive after a fire ripped through her home. (Photo source: WLOX) A Harrison County woman is happy to be alive after a fire ripped through her home. (Photo source: WLOX)

A very faint beeping noise saved Virginia Stewart's life. Despite its low battery, a smoke detector awakened the Harrison County woman just moments before flames raced through her home.     

Heavy soot covers cherished photos inside her home.

“My mom and dad,” Stewart said, while clutching an old photograph in an ash covered frame. Stewart says her dad died at 49.

Despite the loss of so many belongings, Stewart considers herself extremely blessed this Thanksgiving week.

“I thought it was a small fire. But it was more powerful than I thought,” Stewart said.

Stewart was in a back bedroom, about to drop off to sleep, when the fire began in the front living room at about 11 p.m.

“I came out this way and I looked, and I could see the fire. I actually didn't smell smoke until I got to the end of the hallway,” Stewart said.

Stewart says she almost didn’t get up to check things out.

“At first, I wasn't even going to go check on it and it kept on. So finally I thought, well, I might better go see what it is. And a good thing I did,” said Stewart.

That noise that alerted her was coming from what might have been the only still-working smoke detector in the house.

“Most of my smoke detectors, they were giving me trouble. And I didn't know what to do with them, so I unplugged them. But apparently, I left one or two. I never checked the batteries though, and it was very, very low. But it was enough to get me up,” Stewart said.

Fire can be finicky. While it scorched most of her photos, her son's Babe Ruth collection still sits in a small curio cabinet.

Not only is Stewart grateful for her life, she's thankful no one else was in the house. Her grandchildren often come over to visit.

Though they won't be gathering around her table this Thanksgiving, she and her family will certainly be giving thanks together.

“How blessed I am. I'm very blessed,” said Stewart.

Stewart will be counting her blessings and preaching about the necessity of working smoke detectors.

“When they go bad, they need to get a new one or replace their batteries.  Make sure they're always ready to go,” said Stewart. 

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