Four houses in Middle Georgia caught on fire in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irma.
Two homes in Bibb County’s Lake Wildwood were burned in kitchen fires after power was restored to the neighborhood.
In both instances, “they were cooking when the power went out during the storm,” Macon-Bibb County Fire Lt. Ben Gleaton said. “Then, several days later, when the power was cut back on, the stove was still in the ‘on’ position and (it) came on.”
The family living at 907 Waluhiyi Trail was at home when the fire started, and the home had heavy smoke damage, Gleaton said.
The kitchen was heavily damaged at 1268 Ahwenasa Trail. The family was not home when flames erupted, and the family’s dog did not survive.
Gleaton wants to remind people that “if power goes out, the first thing they need to is go through their house and cut everything off because you never know when it’s going to come back on.”
Also this week, two homes in Jones County were destroyed within 24 hours of each other. Both fires were caused by generators, Jones County Fire Chief Don Graham said.
The first fire occurred at a house on Smith Lane in south Jones County.
The homeowner “had his generator going inside the car garage, actually, with the door closed,” Graham said. “The muffler got up against something and the fire started and went up the wall and into the crawlspace in the attic. It went like crazy.”
The couple and their three small children survived.
The second fire occurred at rental home in the 1400 block of Monticello Highway, where a couple and their two teenage girls lived.
The father “had the generator on the back porch and he said that he was watching TV on the inside,” Graham said. “He had his TV going, his refrigerator going and a little fan going and that was it.”
The man heard the generator shut off, “walked back there to see what was going on and it was on fire,” Graham said.
Because of smoke alarms, the whole family made it out alive.
Also this week, there have been more than a dozen calls from people reporting symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“We’ve been out every day probably a couple of times” for the calls, Graham said.
In most cases, people have left their windows open and exhaust from generators had been re-entering the house.
“People go out and spend $2,000-$3,000 on a generator and don’t think about buying that $30 carbon monoxide alarm,” Graham said. “You should buy one of those when you buy a generator.”
Gleaton said he wasn’t aware of any calls about carbon monoxide poisoning from generators in Bibb County.