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Alarm saves animals

Pets spared in Cloquet fire

Alert neighbors heard smoke alarms and called 911 last week, leading to the rescue of two dogs and a number of cats, along with the prevention of much-more serious fire damage.

Cloquet Area Fire District firefighters were called to a possible structure fire at approximately 2 p.m. May 29 on the 300 block of Second Street in Cloquet.

Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke coming from the first level of a two-story home, but the homeowner wasn’t home. They quickly located the fire and extinguished it.

Firefighters located and removed two dogs and several cats from the home, according to CAFD community risk reduction officer Caitlin Wright.

After the fact, Wright said the smoke alarms were actually installed by CAFD firefighters.

“The neighbors … heard an audible smoke detector alarm and those alarms were still going off when the firefighters arrived,” she said.

The CAFD’s home safety visit program has installed 826 free smoke detectors since 2015, along with carbon monoxide detectors.

“We go into the homes ourselves to ensure the devices are working properly, the right number and place to notify the residents,” Wright said. “Plus they take residents through some safety tips and the importance of having an emergency plan.”

CAFD firefighter/EMT Katrina Brzeskiewicz said the best plan of action is to know two ways out of any room and out of the house at all times, and to establish a meeting place at the end of the driveway, by a large recognizable tree or the mailbox.

“In this situation, the owners were able to relay that no one was in the home other than the pets,” Wright said.

Wright said the cause of last week’s fire is still under investigation. Fire and smoke damage was mostly confined to the kitchen area.

Home safety visits are typically scheduled a month in advance for anyone in the fire district. To schedule a home safety visit, call the fire district at (218) 499-4258 or visit http://www.cloquetareafiredistrict.com/outreach/community/home-safety-visits.

Not covered by the fire district? The American Red Cross will also provide fire alarms. Visit http://www.redcross.org/local/mn-nd-sd/about-us/our-work/home-fire-campaign.

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