Number of fires up in LC

March 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

*published Mar 16, 2010

Chief: Most often, victims ‘just don’t pay attention’

The Lake Charles Fire Department is dealing with a higher-than-average number of fires — most of them preventable.

According to Fire Depart–ment records, from March 1 to 15 the department handled 10 building fires, including one involving a death, and six grass fires.

In March 2009, firefighters handled four structure fires and five grass fires.

Chief T.A. Jones with the Fire Prevention Bureau said the uptick during warm months is unusual.

“Our estimates have the fires causing a little more than $700,000 in damage,” Jones said. “A lot of times we get comfortable in our home and just don’t pay attention.”

Causes listed for the fires include a pot left unattended on a stove, an electrical short on an overloaded socket and a candle left burning.

“In some cases, the smoke detector was not working, so the residents did not become aware of the fire until too late,” Jones said.

He said residents should use the switch from standard to daylight saving time as reminder to test smoke detectors or replace the batteries.

“Fire safety is common sense,” Jones said “These fires can happen to anyone, anytime, and unfortunately they tend to happen late at night, which turns into a tragic situation.”

The early-morning hours of March 5 were damaging and deadly.

At about 1 a.m., a fire at a home in the 600 block of North First Avenue claimed the life of 48-year-old Stella Ardoin. She died of smoke inhalation. Jones offered the following tips on preventing fires:

Don’t use extension cords as a permanent socket.

Longterm use can lead to over–heating and short-circuiting.

If a breaker is constantly resetting, call an electrician or the apartment’s maintenance service.

If you smoke inside, empty your ashtrays in an outside trash can.

Store all flammable liquids away from water heaters. The vapors can catch fire.



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