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Matt Bell

Faces of Fire

After a fire, Matt Bell rebuilt his home and installed sprinklers - "an easy decision".

“It wasn’t until my wife was shoving everyone out the door that the smoke alarms began to sound. I can’t help but wonder how we could have gotten everyone out if we were sleeping.”

Name: Matt Bell
Date of fire: January 21, 2009
Location: Painesville Township, Ohio
Injury: None. Rebuilt with fire sprinklers.
Download Matt Bell's Faces of Fire story (PDF)

Matt Ball and familyWhat shocks Matt Bell the most is the speed in which a small electrical fire took over and completely gutted his bi-level home.

“It took about 20 minutes,” Matt says. “I am so grateful my family got out in time.”

Matt’s wife was home with their three children that January afternoon. In the midst of the daily chaos of afterschool chores, homework and dinner preparation, she smelled something melting. Their son, who was studying in his room, smelled it too. He and his mother searched for the problem while she was on the phone with the 911 operator.

“That is when they saw sparks,” says Matt. “The curtains went up in flames and that was it.”

The fire damaged the interior of the entire house. The Bell family has since rebuilt with home fire sprinklers. Sprinklers were not something Matt had been told about before, and he knows they would have saved his family home that afternoon. Installing sprinklers in their rebuild was an easy decision.