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Alert neighbor saves home from fire

By Staff | Sep 24, 2013

Quick actions by neighbors saved a Cape Coral home and alerted a woman and her granddaughter inside on Tuesday.

Cape Coral firefighters responded to a reported residential fire at 1810 S.E. 1st Street in Mid Cape just after noon. Callers to 911 reported the pool pump on fire and flames spreading up the side of the single story home. By the time firefighters arrived within 5 minutes of the initial call, they found the fire was already out.

Neighbor Shawn Baron, who lives across the street, was driving home when he spotted black smoke coming from the home across the street from his own home. He immediately jumped out, verified others had already called the Fire Department, and then ran to the back yard. He saw the pool pump on fire and a woman later identified as grandmother Beryl Morgan and her granddaughter Marley still in the home.

“I screamed for them to get out, the house was on fire,” said Barton in a prepared statement released by the fire department.

He grabbed a garden hose and sprayed until the fire went out.

Firefighters checked the outside and inside of the home and confirmed the fire did not extend into the walls or attic. Firefighters used a ventilation fan to remove the smoke from inside the home and used their Thermal Imaging Camera to make sure no heat or flame had extended inside the structure.

“The fire was pretty much out, just smoldering when we got here,” said Lt. Greg LaCoste in the statement. “Keeping that fire in check probably saved about $135,000 in value.”

Carrie Morgan, who lives in the rental home with her husband and 4-month old daughter, came home to find the firefighters finishing up. She rushed over to Barton and hugged him, expressing her appreciation.

“I don’t know what to say,” said Morgan, choking back tears. “Thank you all so much for saving my home and my baby.”

Barton brushed off the comments.

“I’m not going to sit around when I know there are people inside,” he said.

According to Battalion Chief Brian Lauer, the fire appeared to originate in the housing of the pool pump when the unit shorted out. The heat melted and subsequently ignited the PVC piping which caused the fire to spread up the side of the home.

Pool pumps, like any other mechanical and electrical device, needs routine maintenance to assure safe operation. Since these appliances are outside, a smoke detector may not alert you quickly until the fire has spread into the attic. Had this happened at night or without the rapid intervention of citizens, the outcome could have been much worse, officials said.

Source: Cape Coral Fire Department