April 23, 2014

Mostly clear

Fire chief: Beware holiday dangers

LODI — Police are asking residents to be careful with decorations and heating this holiday season after fires have left three families homeless since Thanksgiving.

The most recent fire was Wednesday at 25 Lisa Court.

Lodi Fire Chief Chris Ridenour said the fire in the manufactured home was caused by a space heater attached to an extension cord.

“Our mission, like all fire departments in Medina County, is to not only respond in an emergency to a fire, but is also to help inform the public about fire prevention and how they can lessen their chances of having a fire,” Ridenour said.

The family lost everything in the fire, including a dog and two cats, Ridenour said.

He said space heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet and are not meant to be connected to extension cords.

Two families on Lisa Drive also lost everything when their manufactured homes burned — 332 Lisa Drive on Monday and 305 Lisa Drive at the end of November, Ridenour said.

The fire at 332 Lisa Drive was caused by a wood-burning stove. The November blaze began when the homeowner fell asleep while smoking, he said.

Local residents and support groups are forming to help the families, Ridenour said.

“We’ve got them hooked up with the Red Cross and there’s a bunch of organizations trying to help them out,” he said.

Ridenour offered the following safety tips:

• Have working smoke detectors in every bedroom, one smoke detector outside of sleeping areas and at least one smoke detector on every floor of the home including the basement. Smoke detectors should be tested at least once every month.

• Do not use extension cords. Extension cords are only for temporary use and should be unplugged after use. Do not use extension cords with portable heating devices.

• Keep clothing and other items away from electrical devices and heating devices. A minimum of three feet of space should be kept clear around space heaters and fireplaces.

• Have chimneys and fireplaces inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a qualified professional.

• Smoke outside of the home and use deep, sturdy ashtrays. Keep cigarettes away from anything flammable.

For additional fire safety tips, visit nfpa.org/safety-information.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.