Laurianne Faugstad lived comfortably in Lisbon, Iowa with her family and two young boys until this summer when she experienced a home fire. On June 2, 2014, Faugstad recalled her day being normal. She put her boys to bed started watching a movie in another upstairs bedroom when she heard smoke alarms downstairs. When she ran out of her room, she could see smoke coming from downstairs. “I originally thought somehow our basement had caught on fire, so I grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran to see what it was,” Faugstad said. “But I realized it wasn’t anything in the basement and ran back to the main floor. That’s when I was able to see the flames in the kitchen. At that point, I ran upstairs, grabbed my sons and got us all outside.”
Faugstad said she was already on the phone with the fire department as she ran outside to her front lawn. She remembered seeing flames coming out of the back of her home. “A police officer got there almost immediately; he tried to keep the flames under control with a hose,” she said. “By the time the fire department showed up the flames had grown and started to affect the attic above the kitchen.”
The fire department was able to extinguish the flames quickly so the fire did not spread to the rest of the home. The fire department told her a motion light on the back of her home ignited a bird’s nest built inside of it. “Thankfully the fire was mostly contained to the kitchen and our downstairs bathroom. We had some smoke damage to the rest of our home” she said.
The fire department contacted the American Red Cross for Faugstad. “I don’t think I really was able to comprehend quite how bad the fire had been. I thought I would be able to go back inside and grab some things, but I wasn’t allowed to,” she recalled. “Thankfully, by that time the Red Cross was already there ready to help me.” The Red Cross provided Faustad and her boys with toys, toothbrushes, money for groceries and clothes and set her up in a hotel for the night. “We had no groceries and all of our clothes had smoke damage, so I’m happy the Red Cross was prepared to help us.”
Since the fire, Faugstad has been staying with her husband in Minnesota where he has been working. They are waiting while their home is being repaired. Faugstad said she is most thankful that the week before the fire she installed all new smoke alarms in her home. “I had finally installed new smoke alarms because the ones before hadn’t worked,” she said. “I never really thought anything of it because I think you never expect something like this to happen to you. Now I am so happy that I made that choice.”
Faugstad said that without the smoke alarms, she isn’t sure when she would’ve noticed the smoke upstairs. “Who knows how big the fire could have been,” she said. “We might have been in a lot more trouble had the alarms not gone off. People should really take having working smoke alarms seriously, because you never know what is going to happen.”