Don't underestimate the value of a smoke detector. When it comes to a house fire, your life may depend on it. You only have minutes to escape a house fire. It is a known fact that working smoke alarms save lives. More than 2,200 people die each year because of unintentional home fire. Almost two-thirds of these deaths occur in homes with no smoke detector or a malfunctioning smoke alarm. A smoke alarm's warning can cut the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.