(Memphis) A singed Cromwell home is where an Oakhaven couple and their dog died early Sunday.
Neighbor Terry Washington knew the family for 16 years; he woke up in the middle of the night, startled.
“I thought I was dreaming because I smelled smoke,” said Washington.
But Washington quickly noticed the flames outside his window weren’t a dream and ran across the street to help.
“When we started breaking out the windows, all the smoke just came out and we couldn’t get to them,” recalled Washington.
Firefighters aren’t sure what sparked the deadly fire, but they do know the couple did not have a working smoke detector in their home.
“Smoke detectors are absolutely imperative. They save lives. It allows for early warning so families can get out before it comes fatal,” said Battalion Chief Keith Staples with the Memphis Dire Department.
Rescue workers spent the day canvassing the entire neighborhood installing new smoke detectors, batteries and passing out fire safety tips. Staples says the tips are especially important as the Mid-South temps continue to drop.
“People will begin to heat their homes, turn their furnaces and gas heaters on, so we just want to ensure the citizens are safe,” expressed Staples.
Washington had an extra smoke detector installed, hoping it will help keep his 10-year-old daughter safe.
“I told her if anything happens like this, at this house, I don’t want you to worry about me and your mama. I want you to get out the house and try to save me from the outside not from the inside, said Washington.
Memphis residents can pick up smoke detectors from the Memphis Fire Museum located at 118 Adams.