BURTON, S.C. (WTOC) - The Burton Fire District says cooking and heating can be two of the leading causes of fires during the winter months. And they say one woman’s story should inspire everyone to check a few things before we go into this cold weather.
“Wow. Wow, frightening I was terrified I was trying to put it out myself and I saw that it was so out of hand and the smoke was choking me,” said Vera Greene, a fire victim.
“I couldn’t get my dog gate open to let my dogs out, and I was more afraid for them than for myself,” she said.
It’s been nearly nine months since the Burton Fire District responded to an electrical fire in Vera Greene’s home.
“They rescued my dog, they saved my home, but it was really scary to see or know that I could’ve lost my home,” she said.
Greene was not the only person in Burton to become a fire victim last winter.
“Starting in November, clear through March, are some of our most deadliest months for fire,” said Dan Byrnes with burton Fire.
But Greene got lucky.
“I really didn’t lose anything when you look at it. Because I’m standing here talking with you. So, I just thank God today that my home is still standing,” Greene said.
Unlike Greene’s electrical fire, firefighters say heat sources are usually the biggest fire threat when it’s cold.
“For us, it’s portable electric heaters. They’re just being placed too close to combustibles or plugged into extension cords and they are run all day or all night to try to heat an entire home or room and extension cords are not designed for that,” said Byrnes.
As we go into these winter months people are urged to stay prepared.
“Be careful. Have Insurance on your home, have a fire extinguisher, have a smoke alarm in your house at all times,” said Byrnes.
Greene admits now she wasn’t ready.
“At the time I didn’t have a smoke alarm set up. I had unplugged it,” said Greene.
And the fire damage to her home can still be seen. For those who think it can’t happen to them, Greene has one message.
“I thought it couldn’t happen to me because I’m so careful with cooking and, although I smoke I make sure my cigarettes out and everything. But it was just something that happened,” said Greene.
The Burton fire captain says they haven’t had any heating related fires yet this year and they are hoping that getting the warning out early will prevent any from starting in the first place.