Creston firefighters tackle three in one week

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  • Mar. 3, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Creston firefighters took on three fires in a one-week period in February, deputy chief Michael Moore said last week.

The fires were all in residences and in each case the damage was limited.

On the evening of Feb. 12, Creston Fire Rescue members were called to a fire on 10th Avenue North, where they worked quickly to gain access to a fire in the attic. The blaze, which started in the electrical system, was quickly extinguished. Estimated damage is $10,000.

On Feb. 15, firefighters were greeted by an apartment filled with black smoke when they arrived at a 12th Avenue building.

“The fire was caused by an electric bathroom fan, causing the plastic shroud of the fan to catch fire and drop down onto the floor, burning a small portion of the linoleum flooring,” Moore said.

“The fire was easily extinguished and there was minimal fire damage to the apartment, although smoke damage is estimated at about $15,000.”

Although both fires were caused by electrical sources, there is no relation in the causes.

“Electric motors, like the small ones in bathroom fans, have occasionally heated up and caught fire, but it is a rare occurrence. In this case, the bathroom fan is about 30 years old,” Moore said.

“The fire in the attic of the house was related to old knob and tube wiring, common to construction in the 1930s which has not been changed out. Any houses with this wiring really need to consider changing this out as it is not adequate to use any longer, especially when you think of all items we plug in these days which didn’t exist in the 1930s. Most insurance companies won’t insure these homes if it is known that this wiring exists, so home owners need to be aware what kind of wiring is hidden in the attic and walls of your home. Failure to disclose this information in some instances may void your insurance.”

A third fire was restricted to the chimney of a home on 35th Avenue in Erickson.

Moore said homeowners are reminded that if they do experience a chimney fire in a wood burning heating appliance, regardless of whether they contact the fire department for assistance, they need to have the chimney and appliance inspected. Chimney fires can have temperatures that exceed the temperature rating for the chimney, causing cracks and separation in the lining.

“The fire department wants to also remind everyone that when you have a fire, get out and stay out,” he said. “Fires grow very quickly, creating deadly superheated gases that can kill occupants in a matter of seconds. Once you are alerted to a fire in your home or building, get out and stay out until the fire department provides you direction to go back in. Many people have died trying to go back into homes to get personal belongings or find family pets. It is not worth your life in taking that chance, as you may become a victim very quickly.”