By Ted Scouten

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A smoke detector is credited with help saving the life of a Fort Lauderdale family after an early morning fire in their home.

“We were sleeping about 3:40 in the morning my fire alarm started going off, the smoke alarm,” said Jackson Valiente.

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Valiente, who lives in the home with his wife and two children, said he raced to get everyone out.

“My daughter’s room was completely full of smoke, just crazy, but I got her out,” he said.

“My father tugged me out of my bed. I saw smoke everywhere, so I brought my covers with me to cover my mouth. He took me outside,” said Valiente’s son Sam Riera.

While Valiente’s daughter suffered minor smoke inhalation, the family made it out safely as did four dogs, five cats, and a bird. Sadly, one of the family’s cats didn’t make it.

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“I’ve been through a lot of things in my life that were scary, but nothing compares to this. These are people you want to save and it gets very hot very quickly and it gets to where you can’t see, can’t breathe,” said Valiente.

The fire began in his 16-year-old daughter’s room, fire officials ruled it electrical.

“The smoke detector is what saved their lives. If not for that smoke alarm activating, waking them up, this could have been a completely different outcome,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephan Gollan.

The Red Cross is putting up the family temporarily, but now Valiente is worried about what they’ll do next.

“we’re basically homeless, to be honest with you, at this point, with all the animals and all the stuff,” he said. “I need to find a place to live because I don’t have a place to live. I have kids, I have animals.”

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A GoFundMe page has been set up for anyone who wants to help the family.

Ted Scouten