Nevada DMV-PS News Release

Contact: Kevin R. Malone
1399 American Pacific Dr.
Henderson, NV 89014
Office: (702) 486-1311
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 January 9, 2001
NEWS FROM: State Fire Marshal                                                                            01-150

Smoke Detector Program Saves Lives
Pahrump Woman Escapes Blaze Thanks to Volunteer Efforts

Smoke detectors installed as part of a community outreach program from Pahrump Valley Fire/Rescue Services are being credited with saving the life of a Pahrump woman late last week.

Fire broke out in a home at 1948 Kellog Street during the evening of Friday, January 5th. The elderly woman inside was awakened by smoke detectors which had been recently installed in the home's hallway and bedroom.

The woman was on the verge of carbon monoxide intoxication, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Tony Capucci, who says she would likely have perished if she had slept much longer. The woman escaped with her dog and was able to call 911 for assistance.

The smoke detectors had been installed only a few months previously by the Pahrump Valley Fire/Rescue Services volunteers.

The converted double-wide manufactured home on Kellog Street was a complete loss. The Nevada State Fire Marshal's Office estimates damage at more than $150,000 as the home contained numerous antiques.

Capucci says the cause of the fire was decomposed wood around an improperly constructed chimney. The home had a wood-burning stove whose metal chimney ran up through a masonry chimney. The masonry chimney had been installed approximately 20 years ago by the homeowner and did not have the proper clearances between it and the surrounding wooden roofing.

Over time, heat from the masonry degraded the surrounding wood through a process known as "pyrolysis". After two decades of heat, the wood had decomposed into a substance very similar to charcoal, which caught fire easily the night of January 5th.

For more information on the no-cost smoke detector program, contact Pahrump Valley Fire/Rescue Services.

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