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Teenager Escapes Residential Fire in Manhattan Village

A multi-city effort puts out an intense blaze.

A hallway smoke detector was instrumental in alerting a Manhattan Beach teenager to a fire in her home Tuesday night, said City Manager Dave Carmany. The teen was home alone at the time.

Firefighters arrived on scene around 5:28 p.m. and saw "moderate black smoke" coming from the second floor of the three-story home on Lafayette Court in Manhattan Village Estate, a gated community.

With assistance from El Segundo and Hermosa Beach firefighters, the team acted quickly, ventilating the home to remove smoke and launching "rapid intervention rescue responsibilities" since neighbors said children could be inside the home.

It was determined that the teenager, the only person inside the home when the fire began and alerted by the smoke detector, had made it to safety outside the home after grabbing her cell phone and fleeing. She called 9-1-1 once outside.

Fire investigators from MB and Torrance fire departments later determined that a halogen lamp that had fallen onto a couch on the first floor was the cause of the fire. The teenager reported seeing the couch on fire as she left the home.

The fire and heat from it were so intense they nearly destroyed the combination hard-wire battery-operated smoke detector, said Carmany.

“Without a functional smoke detector, the fire could have spread and blocked her from exiting her home," said MB Battalion Chief Ron Laursen, who acted as Incident Commander. "Potentially, she could have become victim of the fire or smoke."

MB Fire Marshal Lou Petroni said that having working smoke detectors in a home are critical to warning occupants of a fire in its early stage and can save lives. 

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