Firefighters share tips on preventing blazes after 5th victim dies in 2 weeks

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 7:16 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a dangerous time of year for fires. In less than two weeks we’ve seen them claim the lives of five people just in the river region alone. Now we’re on your side with ways to prevent fires in your home and what to do in case of emergency.

Looking at the aftermath of what was her brother’s camper, his home, after a fire is too much to take in for one family in Windsor.

“It was very hurtful especially because it happened to us,” said Sierra Utter, sister of Sergio.

Utter’s brother Sergio Villalobos was one of five victims who have died in a local blaze.

“I can’t move past wanting my brother back and I’m sure that the other families feel that way too,” said Utter.

Sergio’s family says he grew up wanting to be a firefighter. He had smoke detectors and never used a space heater. Things the fire department say will help reduce the risk of fires.

“We don’t know if every fire is preventable,” said Jason DeHart, Augusta Fire Department.

Taking steps that you learned when you were growing could save your life.

“You’re taught at a young age because they’re some of the most important fire safety lessons you could learn,” said DeHart.

It’s the simple steps of stop, drop, and roll. The department says having space heaters, electrical problems, or not paying attention while cooking are their top calls. Also that annoying beeping thing on your ceiling? Make sure to check that too.

“Hopefully you are paying attention and today you will go and test your smoke detector,” he said.

And always have an exit route. The quicker you get out the safer you are.

“Things can be replaced. Lives cannot,” said DeHart.

Right now the Augusta Fire Department has received 17 calls just this month. That doesn’t mean fire but calls about a possible fire. Last year there were 19 calls. On track to outpace.

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