Firefighters urge area residents to be fire-safe
Over the past month there have been four large structure fires in the city of Porterville, three of those to homes where extensive damage was done.
“It’s very much a concern,” said Interim Fire Chief Glenn Irish at the scene of the latest fire, a small wood-framed century old home that went up in flames Tuesday, the latest in the three residential fires.
Irish said none of the fires are related, that it is just a coincidence to have so many in such a short time span. He said you’d have to go back about 25 years to find such a rash of major fires in the city.
The first residential fire was Nov. 8 on Belleview Avenue, the second Nov. 18 on Villa and Tuesday’s on North Roche Avenue. In each, a family was burned out of their homes. Luckily, no one died or was injured, but several pets have been lost in the fires.
The cause of the first house fire was a faulty surge protector outside the home. The other two fires are still under investigation.
The chief said there are things people can do to make their homes and themselves safer.
First is to be sure they have working smoke detectors in the home. A grant provided the fire department with many smoke detectors, and while only a few remain, they are available to people upon request.
While they do not get many requests, the firefighters will come out and inspect a home for fire hazards, or they have brochures residents can use to do their own inspections.
The brochure, available free of charge at the Fire Headquarters on Mill Street, has several good tips. They are:
- Keep matches away from sources of heat.
- Make sure matches and smoking materials are out before disposing of them.
- Try not to plug too many items into one outlet and be sure electrical work is done by a professional.
- Inspect extension cords.
- Don’t pile up old rags, papers and other flammable materials.
- Be sure appliances are turned off after use.
- Clear clothes dryers of lint.