Hillcrest Fire Started by Sparks

By: Mike Mueller
By: Mike Mueller

Investigators have been at the scene all day trying to find the cause of Monday night's house fire on Hillcrest Drive.

Officials say the fire started by sparks from the family's wooden stove. It happened just after 11 p.m. Monday night as Harrisonburg fire fighters arrived. Flames filled the house. A seven-year-old boy trapped up stairs died in the fire. Three other family members escaped safely.

Fire officials say this situation could have been worse. Lives were saved thanks to a smoke detector, but having one isn't enough; you need a plan.

"The best thing in any fire is that you need to have a plan and the best part of the plan is to have a working smoke alarm," says Harrisonburg Public Education Officer Wanda Willis.

Thanks to smoke alarms, the tragic house fire on Hillcrest Drive was minimized.

"We had one fatality," says Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry Shifflett. "Had it not been for the fact that the residents were awaken by a smoke detector we would have had three fatalities."

To further your safety, officials suggest mapping out a plan with your family.

"It does not take anytime to practice a plan or put together but you do have to make everyone in the house aware of what that plan is," says Willis.

That can include things like having smoke detectors on each floor and finding two exits out of each room. Make sure you kids can get out of the house with and with out your help. And once outside, find a common place to meet and call for help.

"Accidents like this happen all of the time and we are prepared it can go a long way to preventing fires, preventing someone getting injured or to lose their life," says Willis.

Officials say to practice these plans at least once a month and practice typically when it's darker outside to make the situation more realistic.


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