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Area fire departments respond to structure fires

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Dec. 19 fire in Cherokee Village destroyed a vacant home in the city. Firefighters with the Cherokee Village Fire Department responded to the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Cherokee Village Police Department. Photo/ CVFD
An increase in structure fires is usually prevalent during the winter months, when heating sources are the root of many of the fires. In Sharp County, several fires -- including three in Cherokee Village, one in Highland and one in Cave City -- have been mostly attributed to heat sources.

The Cherokee Village Fire Department had a busy month during December with several structure fires. According to Lieutenant Russell Tanner, the department's public relations spokesperson, the department responded to three fires within a week's time in the city.

Dec. 18, the Cherokee Village Fire Department was called to a fire in the afternoon, which was caused by a wood furnace having cracks in the firebox. The furnace caused sparks and flames to enter the ductwork that was housed in the floor of the home. The blaze escalated and spread through the floor and home.

The following morning, firefighters were again called to a structure fire at a vacant home. By the time the department was paged, the house was fully engulfed. This fire is being investigated by the Cherokee Village Police Department as suspicious in nature.

The third structure fire occurred Dec. 21. The home was damaged by extreme heat and smoke. Tanner said the cause of the fire was believed to been a faulty electrical receptacle. Due to arching inside the outlet, a sofa within the home caught on fire. Because the house was tight, Tanner said the fire was oxygen starved, thus preventing the spread of fire.

In another Sharp County structure fire, Cave City Fire Chief Ronny Milligan reported a Dec. 30 fire in Cave City was caused by a lightning strike near a gas line. Milligan said the lightning traveled along the gas line under the home and eventually into the home's infrared gas heater. Milligan said, "They were lucky it didn't blow up." Cave City Fire Department responded to the fire, which destroyed the home on Center Street in Cave City.

Tanner advises to be very alert this time of year when using electrical space heaters, small gauge extension cords for the heaters or allowing curtains or bedding to come in contact with the heaters.

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