No injuries in house fire
By Robin Scott
The Dalhart Fire Department quickly responded to a report of a house fire in the 200 block of Peach Avenue on Thursday afternoon just before 2:00 p.m. The fire was contained to the kitchen and began as a grease fire when food cooking on the stove was left unattended.
Several volunteer firefighters went to the scene, as well as members of the Dallam County Sheriff’s Office, Dalhart Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety. As law enforcement officers blocked off the intersections to traffic, firefighters readied their equipment to enter the house.
As snow poured down, firefighters assessed the fire. After securing the inside of the house, firefighters used a ladder to enter the home’s attic. Firefighters had to wear air tanks and facemasks, as the smoke in the house was quite thick. Smoke flowed down Peach Avenue accompanied by its strong smell.
Earlier this year, Dalhart Fire Chief Curtis Brown gave tips on preventing kitchen fires. The number one tip was not to ever leave food cooking unattended, especially food cooking in grease. Grease fires occur when the grease becomes hot enough to ignite. Grease fires are extremely dangerous because the fuel source is a liquid and easily splashed causing the fire to spread quickly to cabinets or other flammable areas of the kitchen.
The most important thing to do to prevent a fire in the kitchen is to stay put. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Stay by the stove, and be prepared for flames. Once a grease fire breaks out, it is extremely important not to attempt to put it out with water. The home should be evacuated immediately, and a call for help made. Techniques for putting out a grease fire may be utilized by the homeowner; however, due to the fire’s ability to spread so quickly, it isn’t advisable to attempt to put it out, but to get the fire department on the scene as quickly as possible.
Fire departments recently celebrated National Fire Prevention Week. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has an abundance of information available to the public, children, teachers, businesses, homeowners and firefighters, on its website about fire safety and prevention. The homeowner’s in the Thursday afternoon fire took the steps recommended by the fire department immediately by calling for help. Understanding the nature of the danger not only saves lives, but property as well.
Firefighters in Dalhart, Texline, Hartley and Channing make themselves available for information on fire safety and prevention. Materials are available to the public for more information and include instructional DVD’s that may be viewed at the fire department or borrowed.
On a different note, but worth mentioning, firefighters, EMS and law enforcement officers got a greater understanding of commitment while on the scene. As firefighters were going in and out of the house, with equipment stretched from fire trucks to inside the house and through the yard, a United States Postal delivery person calmly made his wait to the front porch and delivered the mail. The postman truly epitomized the phrase, “Through sleet and snow, the mail must get through.” Of course, the phrase should now say, “Through sleet, snow and threat of fire, the mail must get through.”
For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, visit www.nfpa.org, www.firepreventionweek.org, or call the fire department at 244.5454.