Posted on 11/13/2018

Smoke Detector Helps Save Elderly Couple from a House Fire

The Sunapee Fire Departmentn along with Barb & Jim Dulling pose in their barn with Tim McKinney, VP from ADT.

This story brings us to rural Sunapee, New Hampshire where elderly and loving couple Jim and Barb Duling escaped harm thanks to the ADT fire alarm and the quick actions the local fire department.

It was 3:26 am when Barb, who is slightly handicapped and breathes from an oxygen tank when sleeping, was suddenly awakened by the home’s ADT-monitored smoke detector.

“My husband also heard the beeps and hollered at me from his bedroom to get up,” said Barb. “I put on my leg braces, got our dog and headed outside. As I was leaving, I saw a layer of smoke which burned my eyes and made me cough.”

“I’m woken up by the scream of FIRE, FIRE, FIRE, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE,” Jim remembers. “My heart’s going 100 mph because my wife sleeps upstairs and being handicapped as she is, my first response is to get her out of the house. Get my dog out. Get her out.”

ADT called the house to verify the fire. In a panicked voice, Jim told the dispatcher his house was on fire and to send the fire department. “Even though it was the middle of the night and the firefighters are volunteers, they were here in minutes,” Jim said.

ADT Lifesaver | Sunapee, NH | Jim and Barb Duling
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"I'm woken up by, FIRE, FIRE! Get out of the house!"

Members of the Sunapee Fire Department along with Barb Dulling and the ADT call center agent.

The volunteer firefighters entered the house and immediately knew the cause was something electrical due to the smell. According to Jim, after searching for the source, they determined the smoke was coming from a faulty furnace motor.

Thanks to the brave and quick response efforts of the volunteer firefighters, ADT awarded $5,000 to the Sunapee Fire Department for funding additional safety equipment to help local citizens in similar situations.

“This call was an excellent example of how the security system worked and people did their jobs to ensure the Dulings were kept safe,” said Fire Chief Dan Ruggles.

“I can’t say enough for ADT and I can’t say enough for our fire department,” Jim said.

While Jim and Barb were fortunate enough to survive this fire, not everyone can say the same. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there have been at least 1,962 fire fatalities in the U.S. since January. Winter months are peak times for home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association. It’s during these months having a volunteer fire department can be so important.

To help create awareness for volunteer firefighters, ADT recently announced a $100,000 contribution to the National Volunteer Fire Council. This donation will help strengthen local fire departments in communities across the country. Learn more about the work ADT is doing to help volunteer firefighters across the country by visiting

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

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