Couple thankful for smoke alarms installed recently
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Last Thanksgiving, Frank “Twig” and Dana Branch’s son Richard Rose noticed his parents didn’t have smoke alarms installed in their Picayune home.
He immediately went to the nearest home improvement retailer and purchased and installed five smoke detectors in his parents’ home, an act that would save the couple’s lives on Feb. 3.
“We had one alarm and I thought it was dead,” Dana Branch said. “I didn’t know it was just a heat sensor, which just goes off if it was smoky in the kitchen.”
On Feb. 3 at about 3:30 a.m., the newly installed alarms went off in the couple’s home. When the couple woke up, their entire home was engulfed in smoke and flames.
“I ran to the road with no shoes on and my husband got a hose and tried to put it out,” Dana Branch said. “But by that time, the fire department, who had been alerted by our home alarm system, had arrived. The house went fast and we were told the fire was more than 2,000 degrees. It was a very hot fire.”
The couple escaped the home with their lives and the clothing on their backs, but lost everything else, including their five cats.
The Branches have lived at the corner of Union School and Huppo roads in Picayune for the past 39 years and raised their family there.
“It was heartbreaking,” Dana Branch said. “But, God only loans us those things. We have felt the prayers of our congregation at Roseland Park Baptist Church and will rebuild a smaller house on the same property. I’m 80 and my husband is 85 and we know God has lots of things in store for us.”
Dana Branch said it is also her prayer that people will buy new smoke alarms or inspect the ones they have.
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for our smoke alarms,” she said. “God has provided and we’re going to be fine. We have very strong faith and can’t think of living anywhere except Picayune, Mississippi.”