Opinion

Ice a top reason for fire safety

Increase in blazes across region may be direct result of lengthy cold snap

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — They are two words that you would think cancel each other out.

But actually one seems to fuel the other with disastrous and often tragic results.

We refer to fire and ice.

Since December, we count more than a dozen stories and brief items about structure fires in Monongalia and Preston counties.

Tragically, one on Fairchance Road claimed an elderly woman’s life Dec. 31. Another resulted in five people seriously injured in Westover, while two firefighters were hurt battling flames on Dug Hill Road last week.

Others range from homes being destroyed on Savage Lane and Birds Creek to an abandoned home in Star City a garage on Glory Barn Road going up in flames.

Minor damage occurred in several more blazes, but like surgery, none of it’s minor when it’s your home or apartment damaged by fire, or smoke, or water.

In a mid-November editorial we wrote: ’Tis the season … for your house to catch on fire.

Almost three months, later it’s still that season, minus the twinkling holiday lights.

Though many of us prepare without fail for holidays, too many of us never prepare for a house fire.

For instance, are there enough working smoke alarms in your home? Is your home heating unit in good order? When did you last clean and inspect your chimney?

Heating-related fires are the largest cause of house fires in our nation.

But if you never give fire safety a second thought, remember this much: Most fire victims are already dead before 911 is called, most from smoke or toxic gas.

Predictably, most of those deaths occur while people are sleeping — between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

That’s why everyone needs to not only install a smoke detector on each level of their home, and especially outside bedrooms, but check them regularly, too.

Whether you live in a townhouse or a farm house, ensuring your family’s and your own safety is primary.

Property owners, who rent homes and apartments, are also obligated to take fire safety seriously.

Our newspaper reports on a lot of local stories that end in tragedy and loss.

Some occur naturally, while others can generally already be assumed will happen. But the one we could live without, despite the riveting photographs and video, are house fires.

There’s nothing natural about them and the grief and pain they cause the victims can be almost as great, or greater, than a death in the family.

There are two words that should complement each other, but often don’t — fire and safety.

Click here for The Dominion Post e-edition.

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