By Aimee Hancock
PIQUA — Representatives of ADT Security Services, along with members of the Piqua Fire Department, met with Piqua couple Mike and Karen Culver on Thursday in front of their home on Orchard Drive to share the story of how an ADT dispatcher based in Orlando, Florida, is now being credited with saving the couples’ lives.
In June of this year, the Culvers were asleep in their second floor bedroom when the phone rang around 2 a.m. According to the couple, they missed the call, unaware that ADT dispatcher Tenoria Ellis was attempting to alert them to exit their home. However, the call did wake them, allowing them to hear an indistinct noise. Upon opening the bedroom door, the two found the hallway was filled with smoke and the fire alarms were blaring.
“The alarms were outside our bedroom door, so we couldn’t hear it enough to wake us up, so we’re super thankful for the ADT dispatcher who called us,” Mike said.
After attempting to find the source of the fire and realizing they were outmatched, the couple exited the home and called 911. At that point, the Piqua Fire Department had already been alerted by the ADT dispatcher and were en route.
“The fire fighters showed up within minutes, and because of that, they were able to contain the fire in the basement and it saved our house,” Karen said.
Karen also noted that just days earlier, the couple had considered canceling their ADT account.
“Two days before the fire, we had a technician come to our house to upgrade the system and we talked to him about canceling. By the end of our conversation, we decided we weren’t going to cancel right now,” she said. “Two days later, that decision saved our house and it saved our lives.”
Along with ADT Senior Vice President Jill Greer and several other ADT representatives, dispatcher Ellis made the trip from Florida to meet the Culvers in person on Thursday. After an emotional greeting, the couple gifted Ellis a box of Winan’s chocolate to show their appreciation. Greer also presented Ellis with a “Life Saver Award” on behalf of the ADT company.
Greer then presented a $5,000 donation check to the Assistant Fire Chief Lee Adams and the Piqua Fire Department.
Adams spoke briefly about fire safety and the importance of having working, correctly-installed smoke alarms on every level of the home.
“Working smoke alarms in the home make all the difference in the world. Statistics tell us that there are usually more than 3,000 Americans killed in home fires every year, and a very small number of those are in houses that have working smoke alarms, so that tells us those smoke alarms are very effective,” he said.
Those without smoke alarms can contact the American Red Cross, which in Miami County can be reached at 937-332-1414, Adams said.
Adams pointed out that another important tip is to “close before you doze,” meaning bedroom doors should be shut at night.
“(The Culvers’) door was closed. When they woke up from that phone call, they weren’t really sure what was going on because the bedroom was clear, they were able to breathe and get their wits about them (before opening the door),” he said. “Imagine how different that might have been had their bedroom door been open and that smoke having already entered their bedroom.”
Adams noted that monitoring systems like ADT can provide an additional layer of protection against fires and can be particularly helpful for those who are at a higher risk, like the elderly.
The Culvers, owners of the Piquant Spa, are currently staying at a local hotel until they’re house can be cleaned and repaired. The home is currently condemned due to damage from the fire.
“We’re so grateful to ADT and to the Piqua Fire Department; they were just amazing,” Karen said.