In the last few weeks, we have seen three building fires in the news: an apartment fire in Henrico and two house fires in Chesterfield. Though I do not know what caused the apartment fire, I think that there are plenty of things that we can learn from each fire. Thankfully, no one was injured in any of these incidents, but families were displaced in each one. The causes of these fires may be different, but the destruction in the end was practically the same.
House Fire No. 1
The first fire was a late night incident, caused by a cigarette that was discarded in an outside flowerpot. A cigarette burns at 550 degrees Fahrenheit. A fire from an improperly discarded cigarette will usually smolder for a while, but will eventually cause a fire. This fire started on the outside and moved to the inside. Once the fire started, it probably traveled quickly. The most dangerous part of this fire was that it occurred in the middle of the night when most people lose their lives in house fires.
House fire No. 2
The second house fire was caused by a squirrel’s nest in the space occupied by a pre-fabricated fireplace. I am not certain where the squirrel built the nest, but I think that it was under the fireplace. The point is that squirrels, birds, bats and rodents will build nests anywhere. It may have taken a while for this nest to dry out before it finally ignited. The best way to prevent this type of fire is to have a licensed chimney sweep come out and inspect your chimney, at least once a year.
Henrico apartment fire
As stated earlier, I do not know what investigators have determined, concerning this fire. The problem with apartment living is in the following description – a multi-family dwelling. In this setting, there are numerous families living under the same roof. Kitchen fires remain the leading cause of residential fires. In an apartment building, there could be twelve to sixteen kitchens in one building.
You could be the most fire safe person in the world, but one mistake by one of your neighbors could cost you everything that you own. Many apartment complexes require that tenants have renter’s insurance before moving in, but my message is that every person that lives in a rented space should have renter’s insurance. Are you willing to trust your neighbors with your stuff?