2 Houston house fires blamed on heaters; Firefighters rescue cat from one blaze

December 30, 2012 4:54:58 PM PST
Heaters may have sparked a pair of overnight house fires in Houston, officials said.

Unfortunately, firefighters say they see a rise in house fires this time of year as people fall asleep with their space heaters still on.

"It's very important for everybody to have a fire safety plan -- especially this time of year -- and to have working smoke detectors," HFD District Chief Steve Cichon said.

Two overnight blazes should serve as a warning to be careful as temperatures drop in our area.

The first fire started just before 2am. Flames ripped through a single-story home on Glasgow Street near Cherry Street in north Houston. When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the roof.

Silas Walker lives in the adjoining house next to his son, who is now homeless.

"I was in bed asleep. My wife came and woke me up and said, 'The house is on fire,'" Silas Walker said. "I was scared to death that my son might still be there."

Luckily, Walker's son made it out in time. No one was injured.

Once the smoke cleared, investigators found a space heater believed to be the source of the fire. It was still on.

"He had one of those cheap electric heaters that I don't like, but that's what he had," Walker said.

About two hours later, firefighters saved a cat from a second burning home in River Oaks.

The second blaze broke out around 4am at a home in the 3200 block of Westheimer near Sackett.

Firefighters believe a malfunctioning heater in the attic sparked the fire. The homeowner said the sound of a loud "pop" awoke her. She escaped with one cat, but another was trapped inside.

As smoke poured out of the home, firefighters rushed inside and rescued the small, disoriented cat.

"It was already unconscious," said Jay Evans with HFD.

For several minutes, firefighters hold her closely as they pump oxygen into her lungs with an animal ventilator. Finally, she was ready to be back in the arms of her relieved owner.

"The cat is going to be okay," Cichon said. "We brought the cat out and the owner is in care of the cat right now, and it's going to turn out alright."


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