Planning Saves Home From Fire

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A Star Valley home was saved on Friday because owners had the foresight to install a fire extinguisher near a stove in the kitchen.

When a blaze broke out March 17 near where donuts were cooking in a deep fryer, the homeowner -- the grandmother of the children doing the cooking -- was able to quickly retrieve the extinguisher and put out the fire before it spread.

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The Diamond Star Fire Department arrived on the scene of a Star Valley home fire to find the homeowner dousing the blaze.

A neighbor noticed smoke pouring from the home, heard the children being ordered out, and called the Diamond Star Fire Department.

When engines arrived, firefighters found the children evacuated from the home and the homeowner dousing the blaze.

"She pulled the extinguisher out of the wall, brackets, screws and all," Capt. Rick Heron said.

Firefighters said that without the extinguisher in a nearby location, the home could have been destroyed.

Instead, Diamond Star Capt. Chris Lecher estimated the damage to the home at about $10,000.

Lecher said it is not only important to have extinguishers placed at strategic points in the home, but also homeowners should know how to use them.

For further fire safety, Lecher recommends smoke detectors be installed in homes and their batteries periodically checked.

"If you want, the fire department will help you check the batteries," Lecher said. "Just call us and we'll do it."

More fire safety tips:

Prevent Electrical Fires: Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.

Use appliances wisely: When using appliances, follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.

Wise use of heaters: Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.

Keep fire in the fireplace: Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread.

Kerosene heaters should be used only where approved by authorities. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel. Refuel outside and only after the heater has cooled.

Affordable home fire safety sprinklers: When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable. They can increase property value and lower insurance rates.

Plan your escape: Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out, then call for help.

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