13 Fire Deaths Reinforce Safety Emphasis
The fact that 13 fire-related fatalities have occurred during the past week in Kentucky brings a reminder of the need for persistence when it comes to home fire safety.
Investigators believe flammable material situated near baseboard heating in a Muhlenburg County home caused a fire that killed nine members of one family. Kentucky Fire Marshal Bill Swope says a good standing ‘rule of thumb’ is to keep combustible materials a yardstick's length from heaters. “That would be a space heater. That would be a kerosene heater. That would be a coal stove. I mean anything that has the potential to catch fire should be three to four feet at a minimum away from a heating source and that’s probably an oversimplification, but that’s the safest message that we could probably convey,” said Swope. Swope says investigators have not found a working smoke detector at the western Kentucky fire scene. While saying it’s far from a guarantee, Swope says having a working smoke detector in the home greatly increases the chances of survival. The Fire Marshall says fire extinguishers offer some protection for homeowners, but it’s still a tough call. “If we start talking about that, are we talking about a three foot fire or are we talking about a six foot fire and that brings on a lot of guesswork, so for that reason, we say simply ‘get out of the house’ and call 9-1-1,” added Swope. Three others died in a Madison County house fire Friday night and another blaze in downtown Mount Sterling