Firefighter stresses fire safety

By: Lynnsey Gardner
By: Lynnsey Gardner

October 29, 2006

An Augusta home is destroyed after it was ravaged by fire this afternoon.

It happened around 3:30 at 2839 Culverton Way, at the corner of Devereux Drive.

The house belongs to the Pope family. Thankfully, no one was home at the time.

Officials say the fire was fully involved and the home is a total loss.

The blaze also threatened nearby homes in the subdivision, but firefighters were able to keep it contained.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, firefighters say chances are, it could have been prevented.

News 12 is on your side with some important fire safety measures you should know.

A smoke detector is our first warning sign that there may be trouble in our homes...and firefighters say daylight savings time is a good time for all of us to remember to change the batteries in our smoke detectors.

That's just one of many simple fire safety reminders that could just save your life.

We hear the sound of fire engine sirens on the roads every day, but never want to hear them at our front door.

"It's always devastating. We show up to everybody's worst day," Martinez firefighter Phillip Weathers told News 12.

And over ten years, Weathers has seen it all.

"We generally have a lot of kitchen fires," he said. "It's a big danger that starts with something as small as leaving a room to check on a child."

Having to check on a child is something new mom Michelle DeHart knows all about.

"The first week, I was like, 'I am never cooking anything on the stove again! It's too hard!'" she recalled.

But after four weeks, she's learned.

"I try to find ways to entertain her or hope she'll take the paci (pacifier) and watch, but sometimes she'll have to cry because I'd rather that then her get burned by grease splatter."

And when she's older...

"Yeah, we will have fire drills--especially with only me being home--so we know what to grab and get out."

"The most important thing is to get out and stay out," Weathers said. "Practice with children. I can't stress that enough."

Firefighters say there are plenty of games you can play with your children to encourage fire safety: play hide and seek and make sure they can find the fire alarm, let them help you change the batteries and even push the button to make sure they know what one sounds like in case of an emergency.

"I taught my kids to dial 911 and know the four things: name, address, phone number, and type of emergency," Weathers said.

They're simple safety tips that could keep you, your family and our firefighters out of harm's way.

"You know what the job entails," Weathers said. "You just do the best you can and at the end of the day or end of the month hope that you've helped someone."

Weathers says as we head into the winter months everyone should have their heaters checked, because they too are a fire hazard after not being maintained over the summer. If you use a space heater, he says to keep them a safe distance from anything that can catch fire. He also adds to buy one that will cut off automatically if it's ever turned over.


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