• Have chimneys professionally inspected and cleaned each year
• Ensure wood stoves are properly installed
• Make sure space heaters are kept at least 3 feet away from flammables and have an emergency tip-over, shut-off control
• Use a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting drapes, furniture and carpets
• Never use a range or oven to heat your home
For more information on home heating safety, call Dawson County Emergency Services at (706) 344-3666.
Source: U. S. Fire Administration
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.