By Tamas Mondovics
An overnight fire that came during the coldest night of the season so far has claimed another home this week.
Assistant fire chief Sean Brown, who was on duty at the time, said that by the time Neva firefighters responded to the scene of a house located on 3939 Crackers Neck Road at around 1 a.m. Monday morning, the entire home was engulfed in flames.
Brown said that it took nearly three hours for the four agencies (five, with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office) including 15 firefighters before the flames were brought under control.
The home owned by Jerry Courtner was being rented by his daughter and son-in-law and was unoccupied as the couple was out of town at the time of the incident.
There is no reason given yet as to the cause of the fire, but Courtner said a wood burning stove was used to warm the home and keep the pipes from freezing up.
Brown emphasized that while wood burning stoves provide the perfect heating alternative, the
incident is a sad “reminder of important safety factors to consider such as keeping the chimney
clean and burning only seasoned firewood to avoid creosote formation.”
Other tips include:
Maintain the required distance between the stove and surroundings
Most fire safety codes required that a wood burning stove must be at least 3 feet away from drapes, furniture, and other items.
Light, small, bright fires
Burning a big pile of wood causes incomplete burning and can result in overheating of the fireplace and chimney.
Never burn paper or trash
Burning paper or trash in the wood burning stove may seem like a quick way to light a fire. However, this practice is dangerous because these substances are highly combustible and may emanate toxic gases.
Keep the area around the stove clear of household items
Avoid clutter around the wood burning stove. Embers from the fire can land on nearby items and ignite a fire. Keep books, toys, clothes, and rugs well away from the stove.
Dispose of ashes
After a fire has died out, collect the ashes in a metal container. You can wet the ashes to subdue any remaining embers. Dispose of the ashes outdoors, away from trees and plants.
Install smoke alarms
and carbon monoxide detectors
Any home that uses a wood burning stove must have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. These devices warn you in times of danger and can save your home and family. Also keep a fire extinguisher nearby.