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Season for fires

Caution urged as many blazes traced to heating

POSTED: January 18, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Firefighters were able to put out a blaze in a vacant building at Hwy. 53 and Warhill Park Road before the flames reached the ceiling. The fire Thursday was the first of two in two days in Dawson County caused by heating units.

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In the wake of separate fires over a two-day span last week, officials are reminding residents to take precautions when heating homes and buildings this winter.

Firefighters put out a blaze Thursday morning after a passer-by reported smoke billowing from the ceiling of a vacant building at Hwy. 53 and Warhill Park Road.

Billy Thurmond, director of emergency services, said the cause appeared to be a liquid propane gas heater that had ignited inside a back room.

"A construction crew had been working at the building earlier, and there was either a malfunction or somehow the heater tipped over," he said.

According to Battalion Chief Robby Lee, firefighters were able to save the commercial structure, extinguishing the flames before they reached the ceiling.

A day later, firefighters were called to a home fire on Fairfax Court off Cowart Road.

"The chimney fire extended into the attic and was extinguished there," Thurmond said. "A small damaged area of the attic was cut out to make sure it didn't catch back up."

No one was injured in either blaze.

Heating fires account for more than 16 percent of residential home blazes every year, but Thurmond said those numbers can be reduced through routine maintenance.

"We recommend that people have their fireplaces cleaned annually and have their heating systems checked out annually, as well," he said.

 

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