Doorbell saves woman’s life

Blaze destroys three vehicles before reaching house

By Janice Gregorson

A doorbell that went off when flames caused an electrical short might have saved the life of a northwest Rochester woman this morning.

Fire Marshal Vance Swisher said Deborah Schmidt woke up when her doorbell kept ringing. That’s when she discovered a raging fire that was creeping into the house.


At the scene this morning, she said she heard the doorbell going off shortly after 2 a.m. and thought someone was trying to break in. She said she called 911 and dispatchers told her that her house was on fire and she had to get out. She did.

Her three cats made it out safely, too.

When fire crews arrived, a detached garage was engulfed in flames. The fire also had destroyed three vehicles sitting outside the garage and had spread to the side of Schmidt’s house. Swisher said damage also was done to a garage behind the house and an adjacent property. He has put an initial estimate of damage in the range of $200,000.

The fire was reported about 2 a.m. at 2057 45th St. N.W., and crews were on the scene until about 5 a.m. Investigators are returning to the scene later this morning to try to determine the fire’s cause, Schmidt said. The garage, three vehicles and the garage contents were destroyed.

What To Read Next
Get Local