Martinsville house fire prompts safety reminders

MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - In the daylight, the damage was clear.

"The fire started in the area of the kitchen stove," said Martinsville Fire Chief Ted Anderson.

At about 8 p.m. Monday, at 918 Myrtle Road, a neighbor called 911 after noticing that the house was on fire. The man inside got out, but his dog ran back in and was killed.

"The main heating source of the home was not operational and he was using his oven, including his burner tops, to try to stay warm," Anderson explained. "He had laid down to take a short nap. The noise actually woke him up."

Anderson said he understands desperate times can lead to desperate measures, but using your oven or burners to heat your home is never a good idea.

"It's not efficient. It'll cost you a lot more," Chief Anderson emphasized. "The stove is not designed to be used as a heating source and in this particular case there were a couple of pots that were left on the stove."

He also reminds people to make sure they have working smoke detectors and said this home did not have any.

"If you need smoke alarms, we are installing free smoke alarms. We have a joint program with the Red Cross," said Anderson.

Lastly, he encourages anyone renting, like this family, to have renter's insurance.

He emphasizes that it is very cheap, often less than $20 a month.

Jeffrie Hairston lives across the street and knew the family well.

He said the situation is tragic.

"I saw a lot of paramedic trucks and fire trucks out here. It was just amazing. They were on the scene, but the damage had been done."

A neighboring home also received minor damage. The heat from the fire melted the home's vinyl siding.

The Red Cross is assisting the family.

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