Fayetteville family and two pets survive fire, credit working smoke alarm for helping save lives

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville family says a monitored smoke detector helped save their lives after a fire tore through their home in the 6500 block of 6565 Portsmouth Drive on

Tany Wallace said she awoke on May 20 to a beeping noise shortly after midnight and quickly discovered smoke filling the upstairs.

"When I opened the door to the downstairs area, a whole big puff of smoke hit my face," Wallace said. "I started yelling, 'get up, get up, we got to get out of the house! Something is on fire!'"

Wallace made it out of the house along with her 12-year-old son, 26-year-old daughter and her best friend of 32 years who was visiting from South Carolina. The family's two dogs also made it out without harm.

She worried her brother was sleeping inside the house, but he was across the street playing dominos with friends when the fire erupted.

Wallace said she considers it a blessing that her 83-year-old mother, who uses a wheelchair, had been hospitalized two days before the fire.

"This chair that is burned is where my mother sleeps because it's more comfortable for her to be in a recliner," Wallace said. "She wouldn't have been able to get out. It would have been a tragedy."

Wallace, who teaches exceptional children at 71st High School said it is overwhelming living in a hotel and looking for a temporary place to live while she rebuilds the family home since 1979, but she is counting her blessings.

"It's going to get better," Wallace said. "I trust and believe and have faith in God. It's going to get better."
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