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December and January usually are the busiest months for deadly house fires in the United States, but so far in May, there have been a spate of them across the country. Here’s a look at just a few from the past week alone:
Webster fire: Man dies
May 19 – Massachusetts officials confirmed that a man died in a three-alarm house fire in Webster.
Police arrived on the scene as a woman was clinging to the roof of the three-family home at 146 High Street. She was rescued using a ladder borrowed from a neighbor.
The man who died was located on the second floor. First responders were unable to resuscitate him.
The fire started at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Webster fire: dangerous conditions
Webster Fire Chief Brian Hickey said that the conditions were dangerous for crews as they searched for another person trapped in the house. “There was a lot of stuff on the second floor where they were trying to locate the person in the building – a lot of obstacles in there – and the fire was escalating pretty heavily below them,” Hickey said. “I felt the conditions were worsening to the point where I needed to pull my crews out of the building to make it safe for them.”
The man died in his second-floor apartment. The first-floor apartment was empty, and a person living in the basement was able to get out safely.
The person who died has not been identified, and the cause of the fire is being investigated.
Holgate fire: teenage girl dies
May 18 – A 13-year-old Ohio girl died in a house fire in Henry County.
The fire happened at a home on County Road H in the village of Holgate in Monroe Township. Family members who were able to get out of the house safely said Jerzi Rae-Lynn Harris, 13, was unaccounted for. Fire crews later found her body in the house.
Two grandparents, Jerzi and another child lived in the home. All the other family members got out safely, as well as a friend who was staying with the family that night.
Two state fire marshals responded to the scene to determine the cause of the fire.
Holgate fire: two cars engulfed
Fire crews said flames were pouring from every window and the roof when they arrived on the scene. The fire was so hot it engulfed two cars.
“I got out of my last profession so I didn’t have to make these notifications anymore,” said Fire Chief Randy Nye of the Monroe Township Fire Department. “It’s really tough to have do that and tell the grandparents.”
Neighbors said they heard an explosion and went outside to find the house on fire. Nye, however, said he doesn’t believe the explosion caused the fire.
“They had some young chicks and a heat lamp in the garage area,” Nye said. “Those are all things we have to look at and try to determine if that’s the cause.”
Holgate fire: alarms saved lives
Nye said the family awakened to fire alarms and smoke detectors going off, probably the main reason the rest of the family was able to escape.
The Monroe Township Fire Department, the Napoleon Fire Department, Village of Florida Fire Department, the Hamler Fire Department, the Malinta Fire Department and the Holgate Fire Department assisted at this fire. It took the departments almost five hours to extinguish the fire.
Fort Worth fire: Man injured
May 18 – A Fort Worth, Texas, man was critically injured after being rescued in a house fire in south Fort Worth. No other injuries were reported in the blaze, which took firefighters about 15 minutes to extinguish.
The fire was reported shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday in the 4300 block of 5th Ave.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, heavy smoke was coming out of the one-story house.
Officials said firefighters were alerted that a resident could be trapped inside of the home, and they were able to locate the victim.
The fire’s cause is under investigation.
Bakersfield fire: two dead
May 13 – All deadly house fires are tragic, but perhaps the saddest example this month occurred in Bakersfield, California. Rose Mary Meda, 58, and her grandson, Nathan Meda, were killed in a house fire.
“One of the neighbors said that the fire was coming out of the ground,” said Fernando Meda, Rose Mary’s son. “It’s all hearsay. We were trying to talk to the fire department this morning. They said they still don’t have a cause. What caused it or how it started – they’re still investigating.”
When firefighters entered the house, they found grandmother and grandson together in the lone bedroom.
Two days after the tragedy, the front-yard fence was decorated with balloons, flowers and candles — so many candles that another, much smaller fire started, necessitating another visit by the fire department.
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