Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Jed Boal ReportingFire chased five families out of their homes in less than 24 hours at the south end of the valley, and firefighters urging everyone to take some simple precautions.
One family yesterday and four more today were burned out of their homes in two separate fires. It's a time of year when we see a lot of house fires.
Down in the guts of our homes there's a lot of rumbling going on. Furnaces and water heaters are fired up, working overtime. There's a lot that can go wrong, particularly if we're not careful.
Early this morning Sandy firefighters made a quick assault on a fire that scorched a four-plex. KayLynn Stratton was one victim forced out of the basement apartment.
KayLynn Stratton, Fire Victim: “There was no changing your mind, it was all survival mode."
She and a friend saved her kids with flames at their backs. Everyone in each of the apartments survived though no smoke alarms sounded. Investigators are looking into the cause; Stratton says a double water heater blew.
KayLynn Stratton: “It was like right on your back. Pushed you right out the door. Woke up the neighbors. Everything else was just in dust."
Stratton’s family lost everything but the clothes on their backs.
Wendy Smith lost her home yesterday.
Wendy Smith, Fire Victim: “It's rough. The children are safe. I can live with losing anything else."
Friends are helping, but her house is unsafe and Smith doesn’t know if she'll be able to rebuild. The fire started next to the furnace, but investigators can't pinpoint the cause.
Wendy Smith: “Just pick up the pieces and move on. What else do you do? You just go forward."
Firefighters have several suggestions for the season. They say to maintain your furnaces and stoves, keep laundry clear of those heaters, change the batteries in your smoke detectors, don't overload sockets, and keep an eye on Christmas candles.
Cpt.Roy Reynolds, Sandy Fire Dept: “Take a lot of precautionary care in your home to keep your home as clean as possible, and organized."
Enclosed furnace rooms can kindle a fire quickly so look around and clear a safe space around any heating element; it could make a difference.