Smoke Detectors Save Lives In Long Beach

The phrase "smoke detectors save lives" proved true in Long Beach overnight.

Firefighters credit the devices for warning two families whose homes caught fire.

Fire prevention officer, Mike Brown, says it's a clear case of smoke detectors doing their job.

"This family was awakened by a smoke detector. And basically that's the way their life was saved."

The fire at Alex and Rene Rydzewski's home on Live Oaks Drive began around two in the morning. It quickly spread from the downstairs living room, throughout the house. The shrill warning from a smoke detector gave the couple enough warning to wake up and jump to safety from a second floor balcony.

"What we're getting right now from just a short interview with them is they were awakened by the smoke detector and basically went out the back. The downstairs part has got a lot of major fire damage as well as the upstairs bedrooms and the hallways and stuff," said Brown.

The fire damage is less severe at Hilda Lidy's Church Street home but the experience was no less frightening for the elderly woman.

A late night fire that began near the air conditioner set off the smoke alarm in her nearby bedroom.

"I was sleeping. And something smelled like food. And I knew I wasn't cooking. So I got up and when I got up I looked in here and saw the white smoke and then when I looked up I saw the fire," said Lidy.

Investigators say the two Long Beach fires should serve as excellent reminders about the importance of working smoke detectors. They encourage everyone to check their smoke detectors at least once a month and replace the batteries every six months.

"We have a lot of people I know in our city that have smoke detectors that the batteries are bad or they pull the batteries out. And that's a big concern with the fire department, with life safety," said Brown.