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A smoke detector was credited with saving the life of a 70-year-old man on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation early Tuesday.

Curtis Nephew of Route 438 had fallen asleep on his living room couch late Monday when he was awakened by a smoke detector, according to the Fire Investigation Unit of the Erie County Sheriff's Department. Nephew then discovered that a first-floor room in house was engulfed in flames.

Nephew, who was not seriously injured in the fire, was taken to the Lakeshore Healthcare Center, where he was admitted for observation and then released.

The Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Fire Company responded to the fire, and was assisted by equipment and personnel from the Farnham, Brant, North Collins and Lawtons fire companies. Firefighting efforts were somewhat hampered by bitterly cold temperatures, sheriff's deputies reported.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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