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Huntington crews respond to vacant house fire

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 4:48 AM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As the temperatures get colder, vacant house fires in the city of Huntington begin to increase.

Firefighters spent much of the early morning hours of Thursday battling a vacant house fire. Now, an investigation is underway to find out how it started.

This makes for the city’s fifth fire of the year.

The fire was reported just after 4 a.m. Thursday in the 1400 block of 10th Avenue.

Crews were met with heavy smoke and flames shooting out of the roof.

Firefighters also evacuated a woman living next door – but were able to contain the fire to the home – keeping it from spreading.

“They had such heavy fire showing from the roof, that when they tried to make that interior attack, the fire conditions pushed them back out,” said Huntington Fire Marshal Mat Winters. “And due to safety reasons, they had to set the ladder up and do it from above.”

That caused crews to take a defensive approach and attack the flames from the ladder truck.

Winters says with temperatures dropping, some people try to stay warm in vacant homes, but adds they should instead seek shelter at places like the city mission instead.

He says if you there’s a vacant home in your neighborhood, and you see people going in and out of it, you should call 911 and they can begin the process to secure the home.

According to Winters, it’s ultimately the owner of the house who is responsible for securing it.

After that call is made to 911, the owner will be notified.

They’ll have 72 hours to secure the home, whether that means getting new locks and windows to keep people out or boarding up the house.

If they don’t comply, they’ll start facing fines and could be issued a court summons if necessary.

“We want to prevent these fires because it is a danger,” Winters told WSAZ. “We have an occupied house right next door, which could’ve went catastrophic for [the owner] based on the conditions this morning.”

Winters wants to remind folks they have working smoke alarms in the event of a fire.

He also wants to make sure people are using space heaters properly. He says you should:

  • Make sure they’re 3 feet away from anything.
  • Plug them directly into a wall outlet.
  • Only use them when you’re home and unplug them if you’re going to leave.

Winters says this is how you can do your part to prevent the next fatal fire.

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