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Air Conditioner Malfunction Starts House Fire

Air Conditioner Malfunction Starts House Fire



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Amanda Butterfield reportingIn the heat of the night, a fire chewed through an attic in West Valley. It was just one of several heat-related problems in Utah.

And, triple digit temperatures are baking several parts of the state.

The best advice we've received from experts for staying cool is stay out of the sun and try to keep your electricity useage down.

While we're not sure if the air conditioner that sparked the fire in West Valley had been running all day, we do know the unit sent sparks up the side of a wall, and straight into the attic.

Flames quickly worked their way through that attic, causing smoke to pour out of the roof of the home.

Five people inside called for help and got out quickly. Fire crews arrived, and put the blaze out within minutes.

Authorities say during the hot weather, with air conditioners and swamp coolers running all the time, it's important to keep an eye on your units.

Safety experts say there are some important things you can do to keep your air conditioner from becoming a hazard.

First, turn it off if you're leaving home for an extended amount of time.

Make sure you clean or replace your air filters regularly.

Install energy -efficient flourescent bulbs. They give off less heat, and use less electricity.

And, to keep the heat out of your home, shut blinds, draperies, and windows during the hottest part of the day.

Another safety concern during the hot summer months ...cars. Police are asking parents not to leave their children inside cars during this hot weather.

Unfortunately, that warning came a little too late for a woman in West Valley.

She left her son inside her car at a Wal -Mart for a half an hour. An alert shopper noticed the three -month- old inside the car, and contacted security.

Security was able to get him out and to a hospital for treatment. Fortunately, he'll be okay.

Becky Pitts/ Parent: "I would never leave my kids in the car. I would guess it's probably 120 degrees or hotter in the car."

Laura Richardson: "I don't understand it. You shouldn't ever leave your kid in a car unattended."

The child's mother now faces child abuse and neglect charges.

A dog owner in Salt Lake wasn't so lucky. He left his dog inside a hot car for two -and- a half hours earlier this week. The animal died of heat stroke.

And unfortunately, our warm weather probably won't change anytime soon.

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