Firefighters busy battling multiple fires during cold weather

January 8, 2010 5:09:17 PM PST
The arctic blast of air hitting southeast Texas has brought with it a rash of fires, keeping firefighters busy all around the Houston area. By Friday morning, Montgomery County firefighters had responded to five working residential fires since midnight, with three of them occurring within nine minutes of each other. The Fire Dispatch Center coordinated these near simultaneous responses. Fifteen different fire apparatus responded to the three fire scenes, while units from the Conroe and New Waverly fire departments backed in and covered empty stations in the Lake Conroe and Willis areas, respectively.

Investigators are fanning out across the county to try to determine the causes of these fires. In at least one of the fires, the family was saved by their smoke detectors. A fire started in the living room and when the detectors sounded, smoke was rapidly filling the house. The family awoke and had to go through heavy smoke conditions to escape. At this time there are no reported serious injuries.

  • At 1:09am, a fire began in the attic of a home in the 19000 block of FM 2854
  • At 1:14am, smoke detectors woke a family to heavy fire in their living room at a home in the 15000 block of Arrowhead Loop
  • At 1:18am, a fire began in the chimney of a home on Twin Springs Place
  • At 2:52am, a heavy fire broke out on the second story of a home on Springstone Drive
  • At 6:43am, an apparent chimney fire broke through the roof of a home on Linwood Drive
  • In addition, Harris County firefighters have been kept busy responding to 19 fire calls within a 48-hour period. While several have been false alarms, others have been more serious.

    A fire on January 7 in the 900 block of Cypress Station Drive severely damaged an apartment building. It also caused several north Harris County families to be displaced.

    Another fire that same day claimed the lives of two people in the 800 block of Elsbeth in east Harris County. Identity of the victims is being withheld pending a report from the Medical Examiner's Office. Cause of this fire is still under investigation.

    "Our personnel are working closely with all fire departments to investigate the origin and cause of these fires," said Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery. "With this extended cold snap, people are unfamiliar with the precautions using supplemental heat sources. This was the case where firefighters discovered the homeowner forgot to open the fireplace damper," he said.

    Montgomery recommends some quick and easy fire safety precautions:

  • Test your smoke detectors and replace batteries as needed
  • Keep combustibles three feet away from space heaters
  • Burn only wood in the fireplace and make sure it's out before you go to bed
  • Have and practice an evacuation plan in case you have a fire
  • The number one recommendation is to have working smoke detectors in your home. In at least one of the Montgomery County fires, the detector batteries had been removed recently and not replaced because the detectors were beeping.


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