Turlock Fire fighters were able to quickly douse a house fire after noticing the smoke and flames while extinguishing a vehicle fire just down the road.
Fire fighters kept the blaze to one room, allowing for some of the home’s occupants to remain at the house.
Around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, fire fighters were on Locust Street putting out a car fire when they noticed flames coming from a home about three houses away in the 400 block.
About four to five residents were evacuating the home as the first fire fighters entered the home. An additional three to four residents were helped out of the home by fire fighters, said Turlock Battalion Chief Gary Carlson.
The fire was burning in one back bedroom and fire fighters were able to keep it from spreading. The fire was brought under control in an estimated 10 minutes, with additional clean-up and overhaul lasting about an hour and a half. A total of 12 fire fighters and one battalion chief responded to the fire.
The cause of the fire was determined to be a burning candle that had been knocked over in the bedroom. The bedroom had fire damage while portions of the home had smoke damage, according to the fire department.
The same home was the scene of a fire two weeks ago when a generator used as a power supply ignited, Carlson said.
The Turlock Random Acts of Kindness, the charity arm of the Turlock Firefighters Local 2434, provided a motel room for five of the residents, while three other residents decided to stay at the home.
On Saturday Red Cross volunteers will join Turlock fire fighters to help spread fire safety awareness to the community. The Red Cross on average responds to 70,000 disasters a year, with the majority of those being house fires. The teams will be canvassing neighborhoods with higher frequencies of home fires, which in Turlock is primarily the older homes located on the West Side.
The community canvass events – during which volunteers will also install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in homes in need – is part of a national Red Cross campaign aimed to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.
“Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half, which is why it is critical for all households to have them and test them regularly,” said Kathleen Weis, Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross Gold Country Region. “We have seen an increase in home fires throughout our region, on average responding to one every 11 hours, so it is critical that residents take action to reduce their risk and improve their safety in the event of a home fire. Simply testing your smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home can save lives.”
The Red Cross’s fire safety campaign comes at a time when a new national survey shows most Americans overestimate their chances of surviving a house fire. The Red Cross’ Fire Safety Poll shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. But most Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape, more than twice the amount they actually have. Nearly 18 percent erroneously believe they have 10 minutes or more to get out.
When asked about their confidence levels in escaping a burning home, about 42 percent of those polled said they could get out in two minutes. Nearly seven in 10 parents (69 percent) believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help. However, the poll showed few actions had been taken that would support the level of confidence of parents about their children’s ability to escape a fire: Less than one in five families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) have actually practiced home fire drills; Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety; Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.
There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:
If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.Practice that plan. What’s the household’s escape time?