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Child alerts family to house fire, all escape safely

Posted: January 28, 2014 11:57 a.m.
Updated: January 29, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Gary Phillips/C-I

What remains of a mattress sits outside a home on Dove Road southeast of Camden. An electrical outlet set fire to the mattress in a bedroom. A 6-year-old boy living there woke up, realized the mattress was on fire, and woke up his brother who was sleeping on it. He then alerted the rest of the family, allowing all of them to get out safely.

The quick actions of a young child averted tragedy early Jan. 22, helping a family of seven escape a mobile home fire southeast of Camden.

Charlotte-Thompson Volunteer Fire Department Capt. William Glover said the blaze was sparked by a faulty electrical outlet that set fire to a mattress inside a mobile home on Dove Road.

“We received a call about 12:20 a.m.,” Glover said. “When we arrived we found smoke in the home. The occupants were out of the house. The occupant’s son, who is 6, woke up everybody in the house and they got out.”

Glover said the damage to the home was not major.

“We were able to contain the fire to one room. We got lucky. When they left the home they closed the doors and that cut off the air to the fire and it snuffed the fire out,” he said.

Glover said three departments -- Charlotte-Thompson, Antioch and Shepard -- responded with a total of 15 firefighters. He said nothing was plugged into the electric outlet at the time, but took the opportunity to caution homeowners to be careful when using space heaters for warmth.

“With space heaters you want to make sure you don’t use extension cords and keep the area clear around the heater,” Glover said. “Another important thing is teaching fire safety to your children and make sure your smoke detectors are working properly. Test them every month.”

Although the fire damage was held to one room, the home suffered smoke damage and a broken window. Progress Energy also disabled electrical power to the home, making it unlivable. The American Red Cross was waiting in the wings, ready to provide assistance to the three adults and four children.

“When the fire department has a situation like this, they call me, Red Cross volunteer Bob Levangie said. “They called last night around one o’clock. I went out there and talked with the family and I put them in a motel. We put them there for three nights and gave them a Red Cross credit card for food and money for baby items because they have a 1-year-old. Each one of them also received money for clothing.”

Levangie said the Red Cross also referred the family to other Kershaw County agencies that provide similar help.


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