Fire Officials Warning Families About Fire Prevention

By: Jon Sonnheim Email
By: Jon Sonnheim Email

A recent string of deadly house fires across Kentucky and Tennessee have left some local fire officials wanting to warn families about fire prevention during these frigid winter months.

The footage speaks for itself. Three separate house fires, 15 dead, 11 of them children including one 12 year old boy in Knott County, Cory Johnson. The Knott County coroner says it appears Johnson died of smoke inhalation while asleep in his bedroom. Although police say investigators have not yet determined a cause of the fire, they are looking at a coal burning stove or something electrical as possible sources.

For fire officials, the cold weather and attempts to heat houses have become a very common, very deadly combination.

"Most of the time it's nighttime and they're asleep in bed and the first thing their instincts tell them to do is raise up and run out of the house," said Sam Stacy with the Hazard Fire Department.

"It is very easy to be confused. That's why we try and stress fire prevention starts at home and to make sure you have a plan," said EMT Freddie Guffey.

Some in the Hazard Fire Department say it's that prevention that has "cooled off" fire calls during their busiest time of the year. Educating people on simple things like moving electric or kerosene heaters away from things like curtains or newspapers that can catch fire.

"One of the main keys is to make sure you have smoke detectors and make sure they work," Stacy said.

Officials say annual maintenance and checking of heating equipment can ultimately save lives.

A memorial service for 12 year old Cory Johnson will be held at 1pm Friday at the Little Carr Bible Church in Knott County.

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