By Judi Curry
Editor Note: San Diego Free Press turns 5 this month! We are dipping into our archives for memorable examples of citizen journalism that we have published since 2012. Judi Curry’s 2013 mysterious fire alarms story continues to be one of our most popular articles. Congratulations Judi!
My dog Buddy and I were awakened early Sunday morning by the smoke alarm going off in our bedroom. (Yes, Buddy and I sleep in the same room – although not in the same bed.) He freaked out because the high pitched noise hurts his ears, and he quickly ran into the other part of the house to hide.
Approximately one half hour later, one of the two smoke detectors in the hallway began to beep and Buddy ran outside. Being only 5’3”, I could not reach the two detectors to remove the batteries, and, having a broken shoulder, did not want to take the chance of using a ladder. I waited until 9am before I texted my neighbor Mark – who is well over 6’4”, – to ask for his help in replacing the batteries.
But in the 20 minutes before he answered my text, the second detector in the hallway began to beep. I looked up in the attic to see if there was a problem – a fire, maybe? – but found nothing.
By the time Mark came over – 9:30am or so, two more detectors were beeping. Mark changed the batteries in two of them, and since it was quiet, left for home. No sooner had he walked out the door when the two more alarms began to beep.
By this time I was out of 7 volt batteries and called another neighbor – Jim – to see if he had a few extra I could buy from him. He brought some over, along with a contraption that tests the voltage in batteries, and proceeded to change the one in the hallway.
About that time, Mark texted me back and asked how things were going. I told him the detectors were still going nuts, and he asked if I wanted him to come remove them and would purchase new ones for me the next time he went to Home Depot. I told him I thought it was a great idea and within seconds – he came via skateboard – he was at the house removing the offending smoke detectors.
As he was walking out the door, we heard another beep! This one came from an alarm he had put new batteries in earlier. Rather than have him put it back on the ceiling, I kept it on the chair to see if the infernal beeping would stop. It didn’t, and we then took out the battery in that one also.
Mark had been gone only 5 minutes when I heard a “beep” again. Impossible! He had removed ALL the batteries from ALL smoke detectors. I did a “room by room” search, thinking that maybe my late husband had hidden a detector when he installed them, but, alas, I could not find any more, and, for Buddy’s sake – who had been sitting in the swimming pool for 4 hours to get away from the noise – thought I was hearing things.
Then I walked into the bedroom to check on Buddy, and the carbon monoxide detector began beeping! Holy crap! I removed that offending device; removed the batteries which Jim checked and said were useless; and replaced them with brand new ones. I put the detector back on the wall, and, for the past 36 minutes, there have been no beeps or odd noises.
Of course Buddy is still in the pool; and I have written an e-mail to Dave Scott from KUSI asking him if the large moon at 5am this morning could have been a contributing factor to this strange smoke detector behavior. All of the smoke detectors were purchased at different times; all of the batteries have been replaced at different times; but everyone one of them – 7 volts as well as the AA’s in the carbon monoxide detector went out within two hours of each other.
My live in Asian students – of which I have two – are convinced that my late husband is haunting the house – phantom flushes of the toilet; doors left open we swore were closed, and now this.
Did anyone else have any problems with their batteries on Sunday, June 23rd? Or does anyone have an explanation for this?
Editor Note: This article was originally published on June 24, 2013
Wow sounds like that neighbor Mark is awfully sweet ;)
He is. And his wife isn’t too bad either!
I have five smoke detectors that are all hardwired to SDGE, as well as being interconnected to each other. Additionally, they all have 9Volt battery backups. About a month after moving in, I replaced all of the 9V batteries. Two months later, a false alarm at 2:30AM, then nothing for a few days. Then, again, around 3AM another false alarm where all 5 smoke alarms go off together driving our dog and us nuts. I removed and vacuumed all of the smoke detectors, and checked the voltage on all of the 9V batteries. A month later another false alarm, and I removed all detectors for good.
Six months later I purchased 5 brand new 110V plus battery backup smoke detectors and installed all of them with brand new 9V batteries. Two months later, another false alarm and I removed all of the new detectors for good. I have been sleeping well ever since. When I decide to sell the house, I’ll have to reinstall some smoke detectors, but until then I can live in peace, albeit with a slightly greater risk to our lives due to fire.
Glad to hear of your problem Jerry. Well, not really “glad” “glad” but I was beginning to wonder if I was living in an electrified house. Received an email from a cousin in Alaska that told me her son had the same problem, but we both knew how much my late husband wanted to go to Alaska so wondered if he was responsible for Tommy’s problem. So glad to hear that you didn’t know Bob and there is something else triggering the malfunction. Have you ever asked anyone for an explanation?
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
I liked the Super-Moon Triggers Smoke Alarm theory, but I’m with Jerry: disable all the little buggers. It my be against the law, but then again, so are unauthorized drone strikes in foreign countries, killing American citizens abroad and the government’s keeping secret records of American citizens’ phone calls and emails.
Fran, they went out with the trash today. Hmmm. Wonder if one of those bugs is malfunctioning in my house! I told my students – no candles; no smoking – I’d get them out of here if they did anyway – until I can replace them.
John Horton says
Judu, my wife and I had the same problem.in f fact we still do. E believe it to be spirits but who knows. First they woukd randomly chirp then one day at 4am went to full alarm. No smoke in the house. I decided enough was enough and removed all if them. Even when I walked all four outside and threw them into the yard with batteries they would still chirp. I left one plugged in upstairs which last couple days has been doing the random chirps. To add icing to the cake the property I stay on the owners house decided to call her today. We live in Florida. They are in Tennessee right now.checked all the doors and Windows and everything is locked and closed. weird huh its freaking my wife out.
John Horton says
Sorry threw them into the yard without batteries
I know, John . I thought the house haunted, or there were fires in the attic, or….
But, since Mark replaced all of the alarms I’ve not had any trouble. Bizarre, though!
Zach on the side says
Simple verdict, the devices aren’t perfect and can somtimes malfunction. Judi replaced her devices and the problem stopped. Did the spirits take a distaste to the new devices?
Zach on the side says
Have to weigh in with my opinion. It makes no sense that they all broke down simultaneously, or that the batteries wore out at the same time. Something was being detected! Being independent of each other but sounding at around the same time, there’s a real cause. Please review all the things those detectors can detect to see if there might be something you’ve missed.
Of course we know you’ve missed Bob, so ask him kindly to send you an email.
Checked everything out, Z. No hot walls; not hot in the attic. Mark will buy new detectors for me and we’ll see if that does it. If not, I may have to employ a wizard to “deactify” the house.
Hi Judy. Spirits find it easy to fiddle with electrical devices. Your late husband can visit Alaska or anywhere any time he wants. Take it for what you know it is. Messages from your husband . Keep an open mind and embrace the fact that he is telling you he lives on. The Alaska fire alarm was no coincidence. Look for other signs as well. It can be a lot of fun. I suggest you read John Holland`s book Spirit Whisperer and Dr. Brian Weiss Many Lives Many Masters. Be sure to talk to your deceased loved ones and ask for signs from them. Dreams are another easy way to get messages. Good luck, regards John
Well, Rocket, a Korean student that we had for over 2 years sent me a reply to a birthday card I sent her last year. She said that Dr. Bob came to her room one night, sat at the edge of her bed, and engaged her in a discussion of north/south Korea for about an hour. She said he made so much sense, as he usually did, but the one thing that really surprised her was that he was speaking in Korean.
This year she got married, and she wrote to tell me that Dr. Bob was waiting at the altar with her groom, with a smile on his face. He told her that he promised her he would be at her wedding, and wished her luck and love – in Korean.
I told her that when she comes here for her honeymoon to bring “Dr. Bob” with her, but to tell him to speak English!
Maybe there is something to it…… Judi
That`s a great story Judi. Looks like Bob is just as busy on the other side as he was here. He knew your Korean student would tell you all about his visits. Another message. When you become more open to this reality you too will get more messages. In response to Anna`s comments, i can assure you that as a plumbing contractor natural gas sewer gas and carbon monoxide will not set off a smoke alarm! Regards, John. Rocket is my nickname since college.
Zach on the side says
Totally concur with Rocket. The more open you are to messages from Bob, the more will arrive.
Thanks Rocket John! I called several companies and asked if they thought there was a possibility of sewer gas being the cause of the battery failure. Most of them agreed with you, but two offered to come out and check – one at $75 and one at $50. Then to “correct it” would be extra!
I’ve been waiting for messages from Bob for almost 4 years. He seems to “visit” my friends a lot; I have not had any encounter with him – however – if he is going to play these games with the Irish twinkle was known for – he better watch out ’cause we are going to share the same crypt when I leave this world!
Are you still a plumbing contractor? Might need some help in the near future. Judi
Hi Judi. If you call anybody call the gas co. Those other guys will scam you. Your Korean student apparently has mediumistic potential hence the visits with Bob. You have experienced Bob`s enery vis a vis the detectors and he gets messages to you any way he can. You can become more receptive and open but it takes time. Dr. Weiss` books are a great way to start. You could contact a good medium as well. John Holland is very good. I am still working however i try to stay in La Jolla to keep travel to a minimum.
I went to a medium at Harmony Grove in Escondido with 4 of my widow support group. One of them was immediately singled out by the medium and she found out things she had wondered about before. Another of the group had a lesser experience, but an experience none-the-less. The other two of us felt no energy. A few weeks later we went to the Pt. Loma Library to hear another medium, and the first gal at Harmony was also singled out. Nothing for the rest of us. I will order Dr. Weiss’ books. Thanks. Judi
That`s great Judy. I wish you well. You know Bob wants you to live your life to the fullest and move on without feeling guilty. You two will be together again in another incarnation so there is patience involved . Why not do what you love in this life knowing there is much more to come. All the best, John
Anna Daniels says
Judi- your experience set me on a librarian’s search. (Yes, the library gets this kind of question…) I poked around and was struck by a few instances in which leaking gas, defective heaters or sewer gas were the culprits. Just sayin’
Thanks. I will check it out.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
I forgot about the possibility of miscreant renters. Years ago the shared apartment of one of my kids went up in flames because an afternoon-delight candle was left burning….For safety’s sake, probably you should get an electrician to come in to check the premises and replace the torture devices.
I know it has been a while since anyone posted to this site but I wanted to share my story after reading everyone’s comments.
Let me first explain that I have fire alarms that are hard wired into the house with battery back up. I live in the country with no sewer lines or gas. It is a single family home, so no one is around to tamper with anything. The only ones in the house was me and my husband.
Last week I was awoken at 4:30 AM by one of my fire alarms beeping twice. After I was fully awake and wondering if I had dreamed the noise the fire alarm beeped one more time. I woke my husband up and explained it. I then got out of bed and checked the entire house and thought it curious that only one of the hardwired alarms sounded- they are set up to all go off if one goes off. I then went to bed and couldn’t help but think something had happened– someone had died. I knew my uncle was sick and thought he had to have died. I thought of my mom, his sister- she died in 96 and couldn’t help but think she had stopped in to say hello.
Later that same day I received a call telling me that my uncle had passed away that very morning. Two days later the alarm sounded one beep– almost like a “good-bye”. Since that time my alarms have been silent. The batteries are fine, the lights are green and working on all alarms.