Two houses catch fire during power outage

Power outages sometimes eliminate a household’s only heat source, but not taking proper precautions can lead to disaster.

During the recent prolonged power outage that affected Lassen Municipal Utility Customers, the Susanville Fire Department attended to two different structures fires and some carbon monoxide calls.

About 6:16 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, the Susanville Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire on Elm Street.

Upon arrival to the residence, according to a statement from the department, light smoke was see coming out from the front door of a single-family residence.

Firefighters performed fire attack and ventilation operations and knocked out the small fire, which was located in the basement.

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The fire was put out at about 6:27. The blaze caused light fire and smoke damage to the residence.

Two people, a man and his fiancée, were at home during the fire; the man sustained burns to his arms, hands and face and was transported to Banner Lassen Medical Center.

Additionally, at 1:58 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9, Susanville Fire Department, along with automatic aid from Cal Fire responded to a residential structure, located on Riverside Drive.

When the first engine arrived, according to a statement, heavy smoke and fire were observed coming from the front, side and rear of a single-family residence attached to a commercial building.

Firefighters performed the attack and ventilation operations and knocked out the fire around 2:17 a.m.

The residence and its contents sustained extensive fire, heat and smoke damage.

A family of four, including two adults and two children, were home at the time, but did not sustain any injuries.

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Susanville Police Department, Lassen County Sheriff and the Red Cross also assisted during the incident.

The cause of the fires still remain under investigation; however, Susanville Fire Department Captain Hal Phillips cautioned people to take proper precautions when heating their homes during a power outage.

Take precautions when heating without power

Power outages not only leave people in the dark, but they can also take away a family’s only source of heat.

According to Susanville Fire Department Captain Hal Phillips, there are some tips to ensure locals can stay safe when the power is out.

He added the safest way to stay warm was to simply layer up, with clothes and blankets.

However, although he admits it is an expensive option, he added wood stoves were the best bet in staying warm during the power outages.

Phillips did heed some warnings to those attempting to heat homes. He warned to not use open flames or camping heaters.

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“(Residents) just need to be cautious as to what kind of auxiliary heat they use,” Phillips added.

He also said a large concern during power outages was carbon monoxide alarms.

Largely, he said, those were caused by keeping generators too close to doors and the structure.

Phillips added when a generator is running, they should be kept away from the structure using extension cords.