Victim of South Bend house fire says smoke detectors were faulty

NOW: Victim of South Bend house fire says smoke detectors were faulty

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- An early morning fire on the southside of South Bend leaves one in critical condition and a home destroyed. It happened on Addison Street Thursday morning at around 5:30.

“All I could hear was my house crumbling,” recalls Taylor Jennings, a victim of the house fire.

Jennings recalls being woken up by the devastating sounds of her bedroom walls caving in and her belongings in flames on Thursday morning. What she didn’t hear was the loud ringing of smoke detectors.

“At least if the fire alarms were working we would have had a chance,” Jennings says. “Nobody even had a chance.”

Luckily even without the sound of the alarms, Jennings woke up with just enough time to save herself and her mother Nadeana, who is quadriplegic. She remains in critical condition with severe burns.

“My mom was out there, terrified for her life,” Jennings recalls. “Forty percent of her body is covered in third degree burns, and all of this could have been prevented.”

Jennings and her boyfriend tell ABC57 they have been trying to get the Section 8-approved smoke detectors inspected by the South Bend Housing Authority since they moved into the home just two months ago in November.

“They approved, saying that the fire alarms were working, they were not,” Jennings says.

The South Bend Fire Department says it’s looking into why they didn’t go off, adding it offers free smoke alarm inspections in the city to anyone who needs one.

Physically, Jennings is recovering. However, emotionally, she’s traumatized. Especially after the loss of her beloved animals; three dogs, three cats, two frogs, one guinea pig, and one turtle.

“I ran back in the house and I tried to open the back door for my animals. By then, everything started to cave in so I had to go. All of my animals died in the fire,” shares Jennings. “My animals meant everything to me and my mom.”

Taylor’s family has set up a GoFundMe page for all of the expenses caused by the fire, especially Nadeana’s long road to recovery.

“Anything, anything helps. We literally lost everything but our lives,” Jennings says.

ABC57 has reached out to the South Bend Housing Authority for comment, it has not yet returned our request.

As for the cause of the fire, it’s still under investigation at this time by the South Bend Fire Department.

GoFundMe for Nadeana and family.

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