Thursday, December 29, 2011

Washington fire officials called to same duplex fire twice

Washington Duplex Fire
The child believed to have accidently started the duplex fire only received minor burns.
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WASHINGTON, N.C. - Imagine your home on fire and firefighters putting it out, only to have it catch on fire again just a few hours later.  That was a reality for two families in Washington.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday night firefighters responded to a duplex that caught fire on Sparrow Drive.  The fire started after a child was playing with a lighter in an upstairs bedroom.
After firefighters put the fire out, they were called back to the scene around 2 a.m. Wednesday after the fire flared back up.
The child believed to have accidently started the duplex fire only received minor burns.
Both families living there were placed in a hotel by the Washington Housing Authority.
Now two families are without a home, showing the dangers of fires at multi-family dwellings.
"I just seen a whole lot of smoke and I looked out and there was a whole lot of fire coming out the window.  It was crazy," said Trevon Patterson whose aunt lived in the home where the fire burned through the roof.
"I seen fire just coming out of the building there and I don't know where my aunt was at so I was looking for my aunt," said Tameua Patterson.
We talked with Washington Fire Chief Robbie Rose about why he thought the fire flared up a second time.
"I really attribute it to the fact that, that window was out.  We had a lot of high wind going in there and that was just a recipe for a rekindle," said Rose.
We asked rose if a fire wall could have prevented this double fire from destroying the homes of both families.  He had a better option.
"Even better are the new building codes that require sprinklers systems," said Rose.
Rose says new building codes are allowing for more sprinkler systems in multi-family residences, but older homes like the Washington duplex don't fall under those new guidelines.
He says things like a fire wall would slow down the fire, but a smoke detector and sprinkler system should come first.
"That's the big thing.  You can't beat a sprinkler system in a residential area.  That's the safeguard above all," said Rose.    
Rose says if you're looking to protect not just your life but your belongings, renters insurance is also a must and is usually very inexpensive.
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