Florida Firefighter recognized for saving man’s life after installing smoke detector

The Seminole County Fire Department and the American Red Cross honored a firefighter for saving a person’s life. They say it was a smoke alarm the firefighter installed in that man’s home in 2017 that was the difference between life and death.

"It got onto the shed outside, and it just gave it more fuel," said Wayne Thomas. 

A shed and one roomweres destroyed at Thomas’ Altamonte Springs home after it caught on fire in April. Thomas was home at the time when he says neighbors and fire alarms alerted him of the smoke. 

"They had it out within five minutes," said Thomas. "It just burned so intensely that I didn’t know if they were going to get it in time," said Thomas. 

WOFL Seminole firefighter honored1

Seminole County Fire Department is crediting Battalion Chief Chris Baker for saving the lives of six adults and two children who were inside the home because of an initiative he started in 2017.  Baker worked closely with the American Red Cross to properly number homes and install smoke detectors for free. The goal was to protect the community and save valuable time. 

"Every minute counts," said Baker. "The small details now can save someone’s life later."


Thomas received one of those smoke detectors. The Red Cross says the fire alarm installation program has saved 1,448 lives. 

"It’s a great feeling knowing that we put in a lot of work ahead of time. We had a successful outcome not just for myself, but for others who responded to the scene as well," said Baker.