MOUNT VERNON — A smoke alarm saved a young couple and their baby when fire broke out in their appartment at 4:10 a.m. today. Matt, 20, and Danielle Hysell, 19, and their 4-month-old son, Matt Jr., escaped after fire broke out in the downstairs living room at 803 C Shalimar Drive.
Hysell said the alarm woke them and he smelled smoke from their upstairs bedroom. They escaped the flames, and Hysell said he went around to the three other apartments in the building and awoke and warned the occupants. No one was injured.
The Mount Vernon Fire Department said it got the alarm at 4:13 a.m. and was on the scene at 4:20. When firefighters arrived, the interior was competely in flames, with fire coming out the door and window. Fire Capt. Barry Bowden said firefighters knocked down the fire in about 20 minutes. They ventilated the apartment by knocking out the patio doors and upstairs bedroom window. Firefighters also cut two 4-by-4-foot holes in the roof.
Bowden said there was a lot of furniture in the apartment, which creates a “fire load.” Firefighters removed the furniture to the lawn in the event there were embers left. He added that drywall in the apartment prevented the fire from spreading to the adjoining apartments, although there is some smoke and water damage to those apartments.
Bowden said the fire started in the downstairs area, but a cause has not yet been determined The Hysells are staying with their parents; the Red Cross is assisting them.