A family escaped an overnight fire in their home on Sunday, according to Dover Fire and Rescue.

Dover fire said they were called to a structure fire at a residential home on Atina Way just before 2 a.m. early Sunday morning where responders witnessed smoke coming from a third-floor window and the surrounding roofline, according to a press release.

The fire was reported to be in a third-floor bedroom and responders said they were able to extinguish the fire and contain it to one room. Dover fire said the residents, all of whom had been asleep, exited the residence and quickly called 911 to report the blaze.

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Dove fire credited interconnected smoke detectors with helping the family escape the fire in a relatively safe manner.

“A fire that starts at two in the morning will absolutely get enough of a head start to trap sleeping occupants on upper floors,” Dover Fire Chief Paul Haas said in the release. “Smoke detectors will literally make a life-or-death difference in these types of fires.”

Thermal imaging cameras had to be used to locate the fire because of heavy smoke on the third floor, per the release. In addition to the fire damage in the room, there was additional smoke and water damage in other portions of the home.

Although the blaze is still under investigation, Dover fire said they believe it started via a novelty candle in the room of origin.

“There are two lessons to be learned here,” Haas said. “One is the importance of having working, interconnected smoke detectors in your home or apartment. The other is that improper use of candles continues to be a cause of house fires across the country. The majority of fires started by candles occur in bedrooms, the majority occur in December and smoke detectors save lives. We’d rather just be aware of these facts, and not have to see them to believe them.”

According to the release, Dover Fire and Rescue was assisted on scene by the Somersworth and Durham fire departments, with station coverage provided by off-duty Dover personnel, the Newington, Rollinsford, Rochester and Berwick fire units, and McGregor Memorial EMS.

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