Week of devastating fires

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March 14, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Fires this week have left one man dead, 25 people homeless, and a business badly damaged.

The latest fire was early this morning at the Econo Auto Painting Shop on the 2000 block of Deans Bridge Road in Augusta. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says they got the call around 3:30.

No one was in the building at the time. Investigators say the fire could have started due to an electrical shortage.

Wednesday night (March 12), a big fire at River Creek Apartments left 25 people without a home. It took more than 30 firefighters to put it out. Half the people in the building lost everything.

The fire investigation is expected to last about a week. Investigators say right now they don't suspect arson. All signs point to an accidental fire in a bottom floor unit that quickly spread.

Finally, earlier this week, an overnight fire on the 1600 block of Luckey Street killed a handicapped man. Willie Newton was in a wheelchair and lived alone. He was unable to get out of the house in time. Investigators think several extension cords in his bedroom led to an overload, causing the fire.

Remember, you can protect yourself from fire by taking a few simple steps. Don't overload your electrical outlets. Make sure you have a smoke detector. Never leave candles, incense, or space heaters unattended. If you smoke, be sure to put cigarettes out completely. Get a fire extinguisher if you don't already have one. Never try to put out a stove fire with water! If you don't have a fire extinguisher, you can dump flour over the flames, or cover them with a pan lid.

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