MEDIA RELEASE - Double Fatality in Mercer County Prompts Safety Warnings

12/12/2016

 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Dec. 12, 2016
 
Double Fatality in Mercer County Prompts Safety Warnings
 
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A residential fire in Mercer County has resulted in the deaths of two individuals late Sunday, Dec. 11.
 
Investigators with the office of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal were called to the home in Dunns, located on the Mercer and Raleigh County lines. The home is a total loss. It is not yet known whether smoke alarms were present or operational. Details of the incident are not being released at this time, as investigators work to determine the cause of the fire.
 
Tragic incidents such as these serve as a reminder for extra caution during the winter months, especially in regards to home heating sources like wood stoves and space heaters. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Half of those home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that started when something that could burn was too close to the heating equipment.
 
NFPA offers several tips to ensure a safe and cozy winter this year:
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or other space heater.
• Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
• Test smoke alarms monthly.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room and burn only dry, seasoned wood. Allow ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from the home.
• Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree says, “Any fire that results in the loss of life is devastating. The number of fire fatalities continues to rise, and this is a great concern. Fire prevention and education are key not only to lowering the number of fire deaths that occur in that state but to save lives. Safety messages and smoke alarm installations with our partners are just some of the ways we look to reduce the number of preventable fires and the unfortunate deaths that occur.”
 
Anyone who needs a smoke alarm installed in their home free of charge is urged to call the American Red Cross at 1-844-216-8286. For more information on fire safety and how you can keep your family safe this winter you can visit our website, www.firemarshal.wv.gov or NFPA.org.
                
  ###

Contact:

Courtney Rosemond
(304) 558-2191
courtney.a.rosemond@wv.gov