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Smoke alarms, falling cupboards wake man in house fire

Jason Wickham was sound asleep late afternoon Tuesday when he was startled awake by the sounds of the smoke alarms going off and the cupboards and dishes falling to the ground in his southeast Brainerd home.

Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch A Brainerd firefighter throws a blackened frame from inside the home on Pine Street Tuesday. The Brainerd Fire Department was called to a structure fire on the 1800 block of Pine. There were no injuries reported.
Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch A Brainerd firefighter throws a blackened frame from inside the home on Pine Street Tuesday. The Brainerd Fire Department was called to a structure fire on the 1800 block of Pine. There were no injuries reported.

Jason Wickham was sound asleep late afternoon Tuesday when he was startled awake by the sounds of the smoke alarms going off and the cupboards and dishes falling to the ground in his southeast Brainerd home.

He opened his eyes and was shocked to see a black cloud of smoke in front of his face.

Wickham, who was sleeping in his back bedroom, jumped out of bed and retrieved his two small dogs-Tucker and Baby --- and "threw them out the window" and then jumped out the window himself to safety.

"He was lucky the smoke detectors were going off," Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said. "It certainly saved his life."

Wickham's wife Lacey Wickham had left the house about a half hour earlier before the fire was reported, she said as she stood in the street with her husband and her neighbors.

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The Brainerd Fire Department was called just after 5 p.m. to the house fire at the Wickham's home on the 1800 block of Pine Street in southeast Brainerd. Upon arrival, there was smoke coming from the front of the one-level house with a basement.

Holmes said there were no flames on the outside of the house, but there was heavy smoke and flames inside the house, in the kitchen area. There were 18 firefighters at the scene extinguishing the fire, doing mop-up and conducting general overhaul making sure the fire was completely out.

Holmes said the fire appeared to have started on the stovetop in the kitchen. He said the homeowner had been cooking about an hour prior to the fire call. He said he fell asleep and woke up to the smoke alarms. Holmes said the structural damage of the fire was contained in the kitchen. The entire house had heavy smoke and heat damage.

"The neighbor across the street couldn't see his front yard because of all the smoke," Lacey Wickham said.

She said they just purchased the home about three months ago. As the couple watched the firefighters extinguish the fire, they were hoping they wouldn't lose all their personal belongings.

The couple said they have a place to stay for the night until they can go back to their three-bedroom house.

Holmes reminds everyone to replace their smoke alarms every 10 years and to remember to change the batteries at least twice a year. He said people also should test their smoke alarms once a month.

"Smoke alarms do save lives, but only if they work," Holmes said.

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The Brainerd Police Department and North Memorial Ambulance assisted at the scene.

Related Topics: BRAINERD
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