Smoke Detector Could Have Saved Lives in Lubbock Fire - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/8/05

Smoke Detector Could Have Saved Lives in Lubbock Fire

A 6-year-old Lubbock boy is without his mother and brother after both of them died in a house fire. Twenty-one-year-old Brittany Lilly and her 3-year-old son, Devin, died in that fire Wednesday night. Investigators say Brittany was trying to rescue Devin and they both became trapped inside. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire tells us the Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office said a lesson can be learned from this tragedy.

You could say what happened at 115 East Kemper in Lubbock Wednesday night is weather related. Seven people were inside trying to stay warm in the freezing temperatures so they lit a wood burning stove for extra heat, but that stove was just inches away from the couch that caught fire.

Just days ago a happy family called the house on East Kemper their home, but a tragedy ripped through the house and the family. All seven members of the Lilly family were inside when it caught fire.

Neighbor Freddy Constancio tried to save Brittany Lilly and her son. "At first we thought it was just her sister (inside), but come to find out , her and a little boy, Devin, were in there with her."

Brittany and Devin died inside the house after a wood burning stove set a nearby couch on fire.

The Lilly's discovered the fire when they heard shattering glass and crackling. By then the it was quickly spreading and it was a struggle to get out alive.

Assistant Lubbock Fire Marshall Marlon Hamilton believes there may have been a different outcome if the family had a smoke detector.

"Smoke detectors would've gone off much earlier, they would've had the opportunity to get out, they may have even had the opportunity to extinguish the fire," said Hamilton. "There was not much time. A smoke detector, even one smoke detector, probably would've been notification enough that we could've had survival."

Hamilton said the wood burning stove was designed to be installed in a wall, but it was set up in the middle of the room, also, it was inches away from the couch that caught fire. Hamilton said objects should generally be three feet away from a heat source. Keeping those things in mind could prevent such a scene from happening again.

As of Thursday night, 24-year-old Demetra Lilly was in serious condition at UMC from injuries she received during the fire.

You can help the Lilly family through making donations at Northside Church of Christ located at 103 East Tulane.

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Home Heating Safety and You
In our efforts to stay warm this winter, it's important to remember that heating equipment is the number one cause of home fires in the United States. To ensure your safety, you should follow these fire safety tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association.

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