Local Fire Raises Eyebrows

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

December 23, 2005

A local fire is raising eyebrows among some members of the community.

The fire has a lot of people in that community beginning to question their own safety habits and whether or not their house is properly equipped and their family prepared.

"You just don't think about it happening in your neighborhood," said neighbor Betty Callaway.

But a lot of neighbors, Callaway included, are thinking about it now.

"It makes you wonder, you know because all of these houses were built about the same time and how if that one went that fast how fast another one could go if something happened."

Intense flames tore through an Albemarle County home in the middle of the night, claiming one man's life.

Fire officials say after searching through all the rubble they didn't find any smoke detectors, something they believe could have saved the victim's life.

"Having smoke detectors in your home will greatly increase your chances of getting out," said Albemarle County Fire Marshal Bob Lowry. "It will give you early warning [and] at least give you a chance to get out before you are overcome by smoke."

"I have fire detectors [and] smoke detectors, but I confess I don't have a fire extinguisher, so I need to get one, and I'm going out to get one today," explained neighbor Dale Williams.

Fire Marshal Lowry also suggests having an escape plan, one that's rehearsed often.

"Everyone should have an escape plan for their house and they should practice that plan with the family," said Lowry. "Everyone should know at least two ways to get out of your house, and once you're out of the house you should have a meeting point outside so you can do a head count to make sure everyone is out."

Also as a reminder, since a lot of people are opting to use heating devices this winter, officials say you should make sure the product is listed with a testing laboratory and always follow the manufacturers suggestions for operating that device.

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