Local News

Winter Cold Flames Increase in Home Fires

Posted January 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— This is the time of year Triangle residents tend to turn up the heater, and firefighters warn them to be on guard against the added potential for trouble.

"A lot of people, this time of year, when it gets real cold, they turn the heat higher than usual or put more wood on it," said Battalion Chief Thomas Parker of the Wilson Fire Department.

Two years ago, a Northampton County couple died in a mobile home fire which investigators attributed to a neglected to a kerosene heater.

A few months after the Northampton fire, two children died in Johnston County after being left alone with an electric heater.

Older mobile homes and houses are the most vulnerable, Parker said. "Most of your older homes are made of wood construction," he said.

Parker said newer homes tended to be more fire resistant, partly due to the popularity of brick. Mobile homes are now built with more flame retardant materials and they're not as drafty so the fire doesn't spread as rapidly.

But even with all the advances in materials, Parker said every house was still is potential risk. The best advice is to keep the house heater properly maintained and install a working smoke detector.

"A lot of them do have smoke detectors, but they're not maintained; the battery alive and stuff," Parker said.