Trailer fire leaves six homeless
by Tom Chillemi
A fire on October 3 destroyed a manufactured home on Buttercup Fields Road in Meadows Mobile Home Estates in Hartfield, reported Alan Blake, chief of the Hartfield Volunteer Fire Department.
An electrical outlet started smoking and burst into flames, said Blake. Why the electrical outlet failed is unknown, he added.
By the time firefighters arrived, a bedroom was on fire. The residents were home at the time of the fire and left the structure uninjured. A neighbor identified the residence as that of Warren Oakley.
The River Counties Chapter disaster action team of the American Red Cross responded to the tragedy and provided financial assistance for three nights of accommodation, and clothing and shoes for the two adults and four children whose home and contents were destroyed.
The Red Cross provides financial assistance on average of $1,000 to a family of four in its time of need, and volunteers are on-call 24 hours a day, said a Red Cross spokesperson.
Tankers from the Lower Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department of Deltaville were on standby, and the Middlesex County Volunteer Rescue Squad also responded in case they were needed.
As colder weather approaches, the Red Cross offers the following tips:
- Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected and cleaned.
- Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
- Space heaters should shut off automatically if they fall over, and should be placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface.
- Portable heaters should never be left unattended and should be extinguished before going to bed.
- Keep all potential sources of fuel, such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains and rugs, at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves and fireplaces.
One can support Red Cross disaster relief services in local communities, across the country and around the world with a financial donation. Please send donations to River Counties Chapter, P.O. Box 1151, Kilmarnock VA 22482 (435-7669). One also can make a secure online donation at redcross.org, or call 1-800-733-2767.