'When someone doesn't have a $15 smoke alarm, they don't wake up': Fatal fire in Surrey a reminder

A fatal fire in Surrey is an important reminder of a potential cause of death that can easily be prevented.

A man pulled from a basement during a fire on Monday did not survive, firefighters said. Four people who lived upstairs were able to get out safely.

The cause of the fire and the man's death are still under investigation by the RCMP.

Still, a local fire official says the "tragic story" can serve as a reminder of what members of the public can do to prevent deaths in the event of a fire at their own home.

Generally, when firefighters arrive at a scene to find residents of the building outside, they were either alerted or woken up by a smoke alarm, Surrey Fire Assistant Chief Steve Serbic said in an email to CTV News the next day.

"It gets them outside to safety and then gets them to call 911 earlier," Serbic wrote.

Then the fire department shows up and works to extinguish the blaze, trying to get it out as quickly as possible to minimize the loss of property. But that's not always the case.

"What is sad is when someone doesn't have a $15 smoke alarm, they don't wake up and there is a loss of life," Serbic said.

He said he hopes the coverage of Monday's fatal fire will remind the public to check their smoke detectors, or install one if they don't already have one.

"That alone will greatly reduce the potential for loss of life," he said.