Updated: Dec 9, 2020
By Joe Johnson
Athens-Clarke County firefighters early Tuesday morning battled back-to-back house fires, according to a news release issued by the county Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
The first fire was on Holly Lane and was dispatched at 1:53 a.m and the first unit arrived on scene at 1:59 a.m. to find a fire on the back deck extending up the back side of the home, according to the release. The initial crew deployed a hose line for extinguishment while another crew searched the home for occupants.
"The fire was quickly brought under control and fortunately all occupants escaped unharmed," the release noted.
While firefighters were wrapping up on the first fire, a second house fire was dispatched at 2:41 a.m. on Dallas Street.
According to the news release, the first unit arrived on scene at 2:47 a.m. to find flames at the rear of the dwelling. Initial arriving crews made a quick interior attack on the fire and conducted a search for occupants.
"It was later determined the occupants were not home at the time of the fire," the releasestated. "The fire was brought under control quickly and no injuries were reported. The incident required three engines, a ladder truck, a rescue unit and 18 firefighters to be safely mitigated."
The fire department reminds residents that there are many steps that can be taken to prevent accidental fires, not only during the holiday season, but year round as well:
Make sure you have working smoke alarms throughout your home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having smoke alarms installed inside and outside of each sleeping room, in the living spaces and in the basement if you have one. Do not put a smoke alarm in the kitchen or the garage as they can sound false alarms.
Smoke alarms should have new batteries installed per the manufacturer’s instructions and be less than 10 years old.
If you have a smoke detector through your alarm company make sure they have correct contact information to reach you in case of an activation of your alarm system.
Do not leave the kitchen if you have anything on the stove.
Do not try to cook anything while intoxicated or under the influence of any drugs or medications. These can affect your judgement and ability to respond to a fire quickly.
Sleep with your bedroom doors closed to cut down on the heat and toxic smoke that could enter the room while you are sleeping.
Have a family fire escape plan. If you have bedrooms on the second or higher floor of the residence it is recommended to have a fire escape ladder and know how to use it. If you cannot get out of the house make sure to call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know that you are trapped and where you are in the house. Have a plan for small children and infants.
If you are using any space heaters DO NOT plug them into surge protectors or extension cords. These can overheat and cause a fire.
Give all heating devices (space heaters, furnaces, fire places) at least three feet of clearance in all directions of any type of flammable/combustible materials such as furniture, beds and curtains.
If you use any type of smoking materials make sure you have a deep ash tray to dispose of the cigarettes. Never drop them on the ground or on any combustible surfaces.
Never dispose of ashes from fireplaces or grills until the ashes are completely cooled to the touch to avoid a trash fire.
If you have a fire extinguisher in/near your residence understand how to use it. If the fire is larger than a bathroom waste basket, do not attempt to use the fire extinguisher and evacuate and call 9-1-1 from outside the residence.
If you have any questions on any of these home safety tips you can reach out to the Athens-Clarke County Fire & Emergency Services, Community Risk Reduction Division at (706) 613-3365.