Seven years I lived here before buying the house from my landlords. The smoke detectors would go off when I’d burned some food while cooking, but I could always shut them off by waving a towel in front of them. Every once in a while, a smoke detector would chirp repeatedly when a battery needed to be changed. But that was about it.
It never occurred to me that a smoke detector would go off like something was burning just because it was not a good detector.
So, tonight, I just happened to be drunk on Pabst when I became aware of one of my smoke detectors going off. I hadn’t cooked anything today. I ate at my mom and dad’s house. So, if anything was burning, it wasn’t because I was cooking.
I went through the house until I figured out that it was the detector in the basement that was going off. I did not smell smoke or see any flames. I didn’t know why the damn thing was going off. When I waved a towel in front of it and it wouldn’t shut off, I became highly alarmed.
When I was a teen, we had a fire in our house. I was upstairs when I started coughing because of smoke rising from a vent. After a while, I realized how dark that smoke was and I had to go down to the basement to get my brother whose bedroom was in the basement. My parents and sister were not home.
We called the fire department. They came in a long line of trucks. They entered our house and eventually carried out the dryer and put it down on the driveway. When they opened the dryer, flames rose out of it and they sprayed their hoses into it.
You just don’t forget things like that. It’s always been something that was not far from my mind. How close we’d come to losing everything.
So, when my smoke detector went off tonight and I couldn’t figure out why, and I wasn’t able to make the detector stop, I thought I was about to lose my house. That it was maybe an electric fire that would soon show itself.
Not so long ago, I found out that Lapeer County 911 has a texting option. I’m deaf, so this was the best option for me. Though my typing was sloppy, I got my message across and I was relieved that 911 actually responded.
They sent an officer from the fire department to my house. He went down to my basement and checked out the screaming smoke detector. He found out that the detector wasn’t any good. He communicated with me by writing in a notebook I keep handy. He told me that, free of charge, they could replace all of the smoke detectors in my house. I have six smoke detectors.
I asked him if he could replace my current smoke detectors with detectors that are designed for the deaf. They flash lights when they go off. I had been thinking about these detectors for some time now. Although I’m not completely deaf and I can usually hear my smoke detectors going off, there were a couple times when I didn’t know they were going off for several minutes.
He asked for my cell phone number, to text me, and told me he would look into the detectors that flash lights when they go off.