Two Families Escape Burning Homes

Two Families Escape Burning Homes
By: CJ Cassidy

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Two houses, two fires.  Now, two Poplar Bluff families count their blessings.
Both families survived fires that destroyed their homes, and foul play isn't suspected in either case.
Investigators say one fire started from a burning candle, the other from an electrical failure.
We're told both homes were missing smoke detectors, and one family shared their story with us - hoping you won't make the same mistake they did.
"Our house had brand new wiring, it was beautiful," Brandy Todahl said.  She and husband Brian's house isn't so beautiful now.  You can see the sky through their fire gutted roof, and most of their charred belongings sit in soggy piles.
They also lost their cat and two pet birds to the fire early Monday morning.
"We tried to go down the stairs, and the flames were roaring up steps," Brandy said.
So the terrified couple pulled their 10-year-old daughter and their dogs out onto the roof of the home.
"I just started screaming for help at the top of my lungs, and Trey Davis, the neighbor's son saved our life.  He got a ladder, and we came down the side.  The firemen got the dogs off and put them in a car, and then we sat here and watched our house burn up," Brandy said.
Across town, another family also escaped a burning home after breaking glass woke them up.
Two house fires, not one working smoke alarm.
"I would not sleep in a house that didn't have a working smoke detector, neither should anyone else," said Poplar Bluff Fire Investigator Gary Pride.
Back at the Todahl home, the couple says their Christmas cash went up in flames, but they still have reason to be thankful.
"As long as we got each other, that's all we need.  Everybody made it out safe," Brian said.
And they vow never to take anything for granted again.
"I had two fire detectors upstairs in a basket that weren't put up.  I never thought I needed them," Brandy said.
The Todahls had insurance so they are waiting for an adjustor to tell them how soon they can move on with their lives.
Meanwhile, fire investigators ask you to make sure you have a working smoke detector, and an escape plan ready to go, just in case.