Fire officials: Leave the firefighting to us

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This morning's deadly house fire on Guthrie Avenue in Richmond's West End is just one of a number making our news headlines recently.  There's enough of a pattern that local city and county fire departments are now joining together to try and find a solution.

Fire officials say that deadly fires on both a local and national level are prompting the need for more education and awareness.

In the past six weeks, seven people have died in four local house fires.  On November 20, a fire in the 1900 block of Rose Avenue in Richmond claimed the life of a 67 year old man.

On December 21, it was tragedy in Chesterfield.  A mother and her 12 year old son died in a house fire on Wrens Nest Road.  Fire investigators say a faulty electrical socket was to blame.

On Christmas Eve, a Dinwiddie county man died in a fire in on Claiborne Road.  Then, early Wednesday morning, a father and his 15-year-old daughter lost their lives on Guthrie Avenue in Richmond.  A working smoke detector alerted the family to get out, but the victims tried to battle the blaze themselves, something firefighters urge you not to do.

Lt. Shawn Jones with the Richmond Fire Department says, "they need to leave that part of the job up to us. This is what we get paid to do, and this is how we protect them and their families. So your job is to make sure that you have a smoke detector in the home that is working and functioning, and then you leave the residence, call us, and we will come and do the rest."

Fatal fires and fires in general are up right now across the area compared to years past.  It's something local fire departments are taking seriously.

Jones says, "it is an extreme concern and we are not through the winter yet; we still have a couple of months of cold weather left to go, so this is the time that we need people to be ever so vigilant and take the time to keep safety in mind."

Fire officials want to remind you that if you need a smoke detector or want fire officials to come and check out your home, you can set that up with your local fire department.

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