The Right Response

SSN Staff  - 
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Neighbor’s system stops fatal disaster
BROOKLINE, Mass. - When a fire broke out in a Victorian townhouse here, it was not that home’s newly installed security and fire alarm system that alerted homeowners a fire was in progress in the attic, but a neighbor’s security system that told authorities about the blaze.

The neighbor’s system, installed by Arlington, Mass.-based American Alarm and Communications, sent a signal to the company’s central station when heat from the fire radiated through a brick firewall between the townhouses. The central station then called both the local fire department and its customer.

“Our neighbors ran out of their house and saw the fire coming from my roof,” said Doreen Nicastro. “They rang our bell and banged on the door and got us up.”

The Nicastro-Reznikow family recently installed a new security system in their home, including a fire panic button, but it did not sound when a fire broke out in the attic. The only smoke detector in the townhouse was located on the first floor, several floors away from the fire, while their neighbor’s home had smoke detectors and heat sensors on each level.

“Little did we know that the system wasn’t up to code,” said Nicastro.

The fire caused $1 million in damages to the Victorian townhouse. Despite the intensity of the blaze, Nicastro, her husband Jesse Reznikow, son Alex and 94-year-old mother-in-law escaped safely.