Harrisonburg family credits a smoke alarm for saving their lives

The smoke alarm credited for saving a mom and her four kids
The smoke alarm credited for saving a mom and her four kids(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 2, 2017 at 10:57 PM EST
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A bathroom vent fan burst into flames last Wednesday morning at the Harrisonburg Church of Christ.

The family staying there was able to escape, thanks to the warning from a single smoke alarm. Without one, their story might have ended differently.

"Everything in our home, I can't be upset about because of our lives,"

Donna Conley said.

Conley sees life a little differently now.

"You don't realize how valuable a life is until you realize you could've lost all four of your children's lives all in one night," she said.

The family's home in the side wing of the Harrisonburg Church of Christ is now just a charred reminder of what could have been.

"God could have chosen very easily not to wake me up and that fire alarm," Conley said.

Conley had no idea she was making a life or death decision one month ago when she put dollar store batteries into the smoke alarm sitting on her counter. She said it's all thanks to her daughter Gracie's fire safety education.

"Her little training is what helped push me to put the battery in and put it on the wall," Conley said.

Gracie only repeating the words fire safety instructors teach everyday.

"Often times when you're teaching people anything about fire safety, you wonder how much is really sinking in? So the fact that this was five lives saved because of an eight-year-old's persistence makes it all worth it," said Erin Stehle of the Harrisonburg Fire Department.

Giving thanks to God and the fire department for her family's lives, Conley looks to the words on her wall, untouched by the flames.

"With God, all things are possible," Conley said, reading off those words.

Stehle said this is a great example of why having a fire escape plan is so important along with working smoke alarms.