Posted on 2/3/2017

ADT Helps Save Texas Family from Exploding Oven

It’s not too often an ADT burglar alarm helps protect a customer from a fire, but it happened a few months ago to the Burns family* of Ft. Worth, Texas when their oven exploded in the middle of the night.

Vanessa and her husband, Carroll Burns

It was two days before Thanksgiving and Vanessa Burns had turned on her self-cleaning oven before going to bed. A few hours later, the oven overheated and exploded. The sound of shattering debris from the oven control panel triggered a glass break sensor which then activated the home’s ADT security system.

Smoke and fire from the burning oven also triggered the home’s non-monitored smoke detector. With both alarms beeping downstairs, the Burns family continued sleeping upstairs. What woke them was a call from Tauneal Allison who was working the evening shift at ADT’s Customer Monitoring Center in Rochester, New York.

She had received the burglar alarm signal and was following up to make sure the family was safe.

ADT Lifesaver Award Recipient Tauneal Allison

Vanessa answered the call and continued on the line with Tauneal as her husband, Carroll Burns, made his way downstairs to investigate. Fully expecting to find a burglar, Carroll was surprised to see smoke and flames that were about four-feet high coming from the stove. He asked Vanessa to tell Tauneal to send the fire department.

ADT Helps Save Texas Family from Exploding Oven
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...our 11-year-old daughter, Kaitlin, has her bedroom right above the kitchen,”

“I went from trying to defend my family from an intruder to grabbing a fire extinguisher and putting out the blaze,” said Carroll. “A few minutes later, firefighters arrived and moved the oven outside. Then they inspected the kitchen walls to make sure the fire hadn’t spread.”

“The scariest part of all is that our 11-year-old daughter, Kaitlin, has her bedroom right above the kitchen,” said Vanessa. “Without ADT waking us up, the fire could have quickly spread up the walls and turned into a terrible tragedy. We are grateful ADT saved our lives.”

Vanessa and Carroll got to thank Tauneal for her life-saving work.
*Customer was compensated


In late January, Vanessa and Carroll got to thank Tauneal for her life-saving work when they met for the first time at ADT’s leadership meeting. Emotions were running high as Vanessa and Carroll embraced Tauneal, showing deep gratitude for saving their lives.

During an interview in front of 200 ADT leaders, Tauneal said she remembered the call - one of over a hundred she fielded during her shift that night.

“I used my training to keep Ms. Burns calm and then had to convince the fire department dispatcher that it was a fire call off a burglar alarm,” said Tauneal. “I am glad everything worked out and proud to be one of 20,000 ADT employees who helps save lives for a living.”

ADT CEO Tim Whall presented Tauneal with the company’s highest honor, the LifeSaver Award. Tauneal is one of only about 300 team members to have received the award since the LifeSaver program began five years ago.

Tim also awarded a $10,000 grant from ADT to the Ft. Worth Fire Department which responded to the Burns home. Accepting the contribution was Fire Chief Rudy Jackson who announced the funds would be used to help research why firefighters face higher rates of cancer and ways to prevent it.

ADT CEO Tim Whall presents a check to Ft. Worth Fire Department Fire Chief Rudy Jackson

“On behalf of the men and women of the Ft. Worth Fire Department, we greatly appreciate this generous contribution from ADT,” said Chief Jackson. “We were happy to serve the Burns family and to help keep them safe.”

When reflecting about the fire and how it happened right before Thanksgiving, Vanessa said, “When we sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, we certainly had a lot to be thankful for, especially having ADT.”

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Customers Tell Their Stories

The ADT LifeSaver Program recognizes outstanding ADT professionals who helped save a customer’s life.

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“That call from ADT helped save our lives. And the fast response of the fire department helped save our house.”

- Amy S., Wayne Township, IN