By Alton Porter
Weather-related fire incidents have been nonexistent in Crockett during the current cold snap, which has brought frigid temperatures to the area, as of Courier press time Tuesday, Jan. 2, according to Crockett Fire Department Chief Jason Frizzell.
Other than temperatures dipping into the teens, causing cold weather discomfort, the city has faired well, the fire chief said.
"We haven't had any major weather-related emergencies. We had a structure fire New Year's Eve night. It was an abandoned house that caught on fire. It's still under investigation. But, that's the only thing we've really had. We've been fortunate."
Frizzell said firefighters received a call to the scene of the fire in the 900 block of Grant Street at 7:11 p.m. Sunday evening, Dec. 31.
"It was actually sleeting out there when we were putting it out," Frizzell noted about the weather condition at that time.
He said, as of Tuesday, there were no electric- or gas-heater related fires or other incidents reported in the city.
"I guess everybody has been minding their Ps and Qs, keeping stuff like they're supposed to be kept, Frizzell said. "Of course, it's still early in the game. We've still got a few more days of cold weather ahead of us."
Frizell offered some tips for maintaining and using heaters and other heating equipment and devices during cold weather, such as our current frigid temperatures.
"My main concern is if people have fireplaces with chimneys, they need to have the chimneys cleaned at least yearly. Most people don't have them checked."
He noted the Houston County Lake Fire Department was paged to a chimney fire Tuesday morning. "People don't realize they need to have their chimneys cleaned at least once a year," he repeated for emphasis.
"And people need to keep their portable heaters at least three feet from items like curtains and beds.
In addition, they should make sure they don't use extension cords to run electric heaters. Those heaters pull a lot of amps and that will melt extension cords."
Frizzell said, "And they definitely don't need to be running extension cords or any kind of wires underneath rugs trying to hide them because they can overheat, then catch those rugs and stuff on fire if the cords short out."
Frizzell added, "They also need to make sure—if they are using natural gas or propane heaters or burning wood in their fire places—that they have carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they're not getting excess carbon monoxide in their houses. Carbon monoxide detectors are just as important as smoke detectors this time of year.
"Like chimneys, heaters need to be checked yearly to make sure they are performing well and there are no issues."
Also, Frizzell pointed out, people should not use their stoves—stovetop burners and oven heating elements—to warm their houses. "I know a lot of people—especially the older generation—will turn their ovens on and open the oven doors to heat up their houses. Stoves are not made to do that.
"Something can fall onto or be blown onto a stove that has the burners wide open on top by someone who is walking past the stove, starting a fire. So, using the stove to warm the house is not a safe idea."