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Smoke alarms alert fire victims

Smoke detectors may have saved the lives of two couples this morning in separate house fires.

About 12:20 a.m., Spokane Valley firefighters responded to 12007 E. Maxwell to find flames engulfing the home, said Capt. Jeff Bordwell. The elderly couple escaped with minor smoke inhalation because they had an alarm that alerted them.

“The home sustained heavy heat, smoke and structural damage,” Bordwell said. The fire’s cause remains under investigation.

About 12:55 a.m., a Spokane couple at 4203 N. Calispel St. was awoken by a sounding alarm after a fire ignited in the wall next to a brick fireplace, according to Spokane fire Battalion Chief Joel Fielder.

The blaze was caused by heat igniting wood framing that supports the brick chimney, officials said. Crews were able to contain the fire to the interior wall.

“The Spokane Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to express the well-known fact that properly working smoke detectors do save lives,” Fielder said.