SLC firefighters follow scent of smoke to burning house with family sleeping inside

Posted at 8:02 PM, Oct 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-09 22:02:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY - National Fire Prevention week kicks off Monday, but people in one Salt Lake City home almost got a deadly reminder a day early.

"I knew something was going on, and I could smell smoke," said Trina Hanshew-Sanders, a woman who lives next door to a home that caught fire around 5 a.m. Sunday.

Salt Lake City firefighters say they were driving home from a medical call when they smelled smoke in the air.

"Every officer probably encounters this once in his career, where you smell smoke and think to yourself, 'Oh my goodness, that's a house fire,'" said Captain Davin Halvorsen with Salt Lake City Fire Department. "So, first you'll figure out indicators for direction of wind and then start searching down wind from where you last smelled that smoke."

That intuition brought crews to an address about five blocks away, where they saw smoke sneaking out the roof and windows of a home.

"I'm sure there was a little shock involved with that," Captain Halvorsen added. "Being greeted at five in the morning by firefighters who want to do some quick work in your home."

Halvorsen added that the people in the home were sleeping and had no idea there was even a fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but Halvorsen points out it could have been much worse since they home didn't have working smoke detectors.

"Fire detectors in your home decrease the chances of death up to 50 percent, and sometimes, even more," he said.

Halvorsen also noted that batteries should be changed yearly, and the smoke detector units themselves need to be replaced every 10 years.