Recent String of Citrus County Fires Prompts Fire Officials to Address Holiday Safety Tips
Dunnellon, FL – A late-night fire destroyed a Dunnellon home Monday night. Another fire on Saturday night damaged a Homosassa home.
The estimated value of the loss in the Dunnellon fire is $70,422. For the Homosassa fire, the house and the contents were estimated at $52,000, with loss of property and contents estimated at $13,125.
While no injuries were reported in both fires, Citrus Sheriff Fire Rescue’s prevention specialists in conjunction with the U.S. Fire Administration have compiled a list of safety tips to keep you and your family fire-safe throughout the holidays:
- Check all holiday lighting before using it. Take note of any frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, excessive kinking or wear before putting lights up inside or outside your home.
- Do not overload electrical circuits and avoid linking more than three light strands together, unless the warning label on the lights indicates it is safe to do so. Constantly check to make sure no lights are warm to the touch and never leave your lights on when you are not home.
- When decorating, make sure to use only noncombustible embellishments. All holiday ornaments should be nonflammable, noncombustible or flame retardant. Decorations should be placed safely away from heat vents and open flames.
- Keep all exits to the home open. Make sure that trees and other holiday decorations are kept away from exit paths. Blocked exits can lead to disaster should an emergency arise. You always want to have a quick and safe exit strategy available at all times.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended. Citrus Sheriff Fire Rescue recommends using only battery-operated, flameless candles. These can be great alternatives to real ones since they look like real candles and also come in a variety of scents.
- Lighted candles should be placed in stable candle holders and placed in areas where they cannot be knocked over. All candles should be placed at least one foot away from anything that can burn. Never keep lighted candles in bedrooms or other sleeping areas. Do not decorate trees with lighted candles.
- Never throw discarded wrapping paper into the fireplace. By doing so, this can result in a severe fire, emitting dangerous sparks that could lead to a chimney fire.
- Avoid placing holiday trees too close to a heat source, including a fire place or heat vent. Heat will only dry out the tree, causing it to become easily flammable. Be cautious not to smoke around the tree or flick ashes near the tree. Lastly, keep your tree stand filled with water at all times.
House fires account for 23 percent of all fires and 76 percent of structure fires annually. An estimated 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residential fires. While cooking is the leading cause of house fires, careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Senior citizens over the age of 65 and young children under the age of 5 are at the greatest risk for death in a house fire.
When a fire erupts in your home and causes severe burns or claims your home and belongings, it can be very hard to move forward with your life. There are many different factors that can result in a house fire, mobile home fire or other fire, some of them involving negligence. House fires are commonly caused by the following:
- Heaters – including baseboard heaters, kerosene heaters and hot water heaters.
- Gas and electrical fires – such as gas leaks, propane explosions or overheated electrical cords.
- Kitchen fires – including grease fires, oven fires, defective appliances and other cooking disasters.
- Other hazards – such as a children playing with matches or cigarette lighters, lit candles that fall over and even careless utility repairs.
A Citrus Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help burn victims and their families in Dunnellon, Homosassa, Inverness, Crystal River, Beverly Hills, Lecanto, Hernando, Sugarmill Woods, Citrus Springs and Floral City. Our staff can immediately investigate the cause of your injury and determine who is responsible. If you or a loved one has been injured in a house fire due to someone else’s negligence, contact us online or call us locally at 352-726-0078.