Electrical fires spark warning

Four fires reported already this month

Hood River County firefighters have extinguished four electrical fires within the past month and are warning residents to take extra precautions during the cold winter months.

According to reports, investigators have determined that the fire which recently destroyed a Dee Highway home and displaced renter Stefanie Lowe and her two sons was caused by faulty wiring in the attic.

Another Hood River home had a near miss when a wall heater began to malfunction and scorched the sheetrock before the smoke alarm alerted the owner. In addition, there have been two “hot” outlet reports although no damage was done to the dwellings.

Hood River Fire Marshal Devon Wells said that owners of older homes should inspect their wiring and make any necessary upgrades for safety.

In addition, he said residents should be careful not to hit power lines when driving nails into the wall and any frayed cord on an appliance should be replaced immediately.

Wells said extra vigilance should be given to all heat sources during the winter when usage is high.

These precautions include making sure there is three feet of open space around all stoves and checking smoke detector batteries regularly to ensure the device is working.

Within the next two weeks, Wells plans to release safety tips on the prevention of candle and other holiday-related fires. He can be reached for further questions at 386-3939.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge



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