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Fire damages house in city; one displaced

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

From Bulletin staff reports

Unattended cooking caused a fire that did about $12,000 in damage to a house at 117 Village St., but no one was injured, said Wesley Brooks, captain with the Martinsville Fire Department.

Hassie Fitzgerald, the homeowner and occupant, apparently left home with the kitchen stove on, Brooks said. The fire extended to the kitchen cabinets, he added.

The fire caused minimal structural damage but a lot of smoke damage in the one-story, wood-frame house, he said.

The blaze was reported about 6:45 p.m. Nearly 20 firefighters from the Martinsville and Ridgeway fire departments and a total of four personnel from Stone Ambulance and the Martinsville Police Department responded, Brooks said.

The first firefighters arrived about 6:50 p.m., the fire was under control about 7 p.m., and it was out about 7:20 p.m., Brooks said.

Fitzgerald was temporarily displaced, he said. “She has a place to stay,” he added.

“Kitchen fires are the number 1 cause of house fires in the United States,” he said, urging the public to be mindful.

According to the National Fire Protection Association: “In 2011, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home structure fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments. These fires caused 470 deaths, 5,390 injuries and $1.0 billion in direct property damage. Cooking caused 43% of reported home fires, 16% of home fire deaths, 38% of home fire injuries, and 12% of the direct property damage in home fires in 2011.”

According to a news release from the U.S. Fire Administration, “The top cause of fires in the home is cooking equipment, accounting for an estimated 147,400 or 40 percent of residential fires each year between 2008 and 2010. Cooking was also associated with the largest percentage of fire-related injuries, an estimated average 27.4 percent or 3,450, in the home.”

Brooks also urges the public to be careful when using drop cords and avoid overloading circuits for Christmas decorations.


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