A smoke alarm helped alert a Gravenhurst resident to a fire this morning.

It was in an apartment at 120 Harvie Street and first reported at 10:20am. The man was able to quickly get out and alerted his upstairs neighbour, who then called 911. The fire happened right behind the Gravenhurst Fire Station.

When they arrived firefighters found a fire burning in the ceiling of the apartment’s bathroom. They were able to put the fire out before it spread to the rest of the building.

“Prompt detection, reporting, and intervention were all key elements in the outcome of this incident,” said Fire Chief Larry Brassard. “Had any one of those elements not been in place, we very likely would have had a much more significant fire because it was burning inside a void space between the ceiling and the floor above. This absolutely shows the value of smoke alarms and an educated community.”

The fire’s source was a bathroom ceiling fan and caused around $1000 damage. The building contains six apartments and has an estimated value of $1 million. Brassard says had the fire grown to where it involved the structure it could have been lost.

“Ceiling fans, whether bathroom or kitchen, are responsible for a surprising number of fires,” said Brassard. “It’s one of those home features that often don’t receive the maintenance they should. Our advice is to have a look at those fans every time you replace batteries in your smoke alarms.

“If they’re clogged with dust or other debris, clean them. Furnace filters fall into the same category, though they may need replacing more often depending on conditions in your home. It’s all common sense really.”