(WFXR) — Fire officials are sounding the safety alarm for residents after three southwest Virginia house fires over the weekend left one person dead and two others, including a firefighter, injured.
The first house fire happened in the City of Danville on Saturday, Jan. 8 just after 8:30 a.m. in the 1800 block of Glenn Street.
When crews arrived, the Danville Fire Department says they found smoke coming from the home. Once inside, they found a victim in the front room. That person was quickly removed and was placed outside of the burning home, but later pronounced dead.
Then, just before 10 a.m. on Saturday, Roanoke Fire-EMS was called to a house fire in the 700 block of Queen Avenue NW.
Upon arrival, firefighters found the home’s kitchen on fire and were able to quickly extinguish the flames. There were no reports of any injuries, however, three people and several pets were displaced as a result of the flames. The fire was ruled an accident.
Several hours later, the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department responded to a house fire in the 3400 block of Locust Grove Lane, in the Fort Lewis area, shortly after 5:15 p.m.
Fire officials say a wheelchair-bound adult had self-evacuated to the front porch and was assisted by several bystanders to safety. Fire officials said the adult was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor burn, and a firefighter also sustained an injury during suppression efforts. Damage was estimated at $250,000.
Firefighters say they usually see an uptick in the number of house fires this time of the year because people are looking for ways to keep their homes warm during the cold winter months. They’re encouraging families to practice fire safety and be prepared in case of a house fire.
“Children should know how to dial 911. You should have your address number on the front of the house. You should have a primary and secondary escape route that way you can have two different locations where you can meet. If your front door is blocked you can go out of the back door and meet in the very back of the yard, said Capt. Rebecca Smith, deputy fire marshal for Roanoke Fire-EMS.
Other tips include: keep all space heaters at least three feet away from flammable items, always plug a space heater into a wall outlet and never into an extension cord or surge protector, never leave a burning candle unattended, have your chimney inspected annually, and have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Smith says a fire can double in size within one minute. She also encourages people to sleep with doors closed, which will slow down the spread of flames in case a fire starts while those inside are sleeping.