Woman escapes burning house, credits angels and smoke alarm


PARADISE, Calif. - A 76-year-old Paradise woman whose house went up in flames Tuesday morning said she's alive because of her smoke alarm.

"I was sound asleep and the alarm woke me up," said Lynne McCallum, who had lived in her house on Sawmill Road in Paradise since 1999.

The fire started shortly after 6:30 a.m. Using a walker, McCallum came out of her bedroom, through the kitchen and down a ramp leading to her backyard.

"The flames were right behind me all the way out, and the flames started to explode behind me and everything started to explode in the house," she said. Fire officials believe the blaze started from a floor heater in an adjoining room. Lynne's dog also survived, as did a few of her most important belongings, including the urn that contained the ashes of her late husband.

"All the guardian angels in the world were with me," McCallum said. "But my point is that I'm here today and functioning today because of a smoke alarm." In the short term,McCallum's living needs will be taken care of by the American Red Cross. Before the fire, she had planned to sell the house and move into something smaller. She's no longer sure what the long-term future holds, but is looking for a good home for her dog, Velvet, who she said she can no longer care for.