Lubbock fire investigators are warning local residents to check their smoke detectors after a house fire Thursday that left eight people displaced and one dog dead.
Assistant Fire Marshal Elliot Eldredge says four people were sleeping inside the home on 46th and Avenue T when a space heater started a fire in the garage. There were no working smoke detectors, but luckily one of the residents woke up and everyone was able to get out safely. Thirteen puppies and two dogs also made it out, but the puppies' mother died.
With no working smoke detectors and the cause of the fire being a space heater, Eldredge says he can't stress enough the importance of keeping your home safe.
"Every time we have a fire death it's in a house that either didn't have smoke detectors or the smoke detectors weren't working," Eldredge said.
He says the batteries in smoke detectors need to be tested every month by pushing the button. You also need to change the 9-volt batteries, alkaline, not rechargeable, twice a year.
Smoke detectors should be replaced every 15 years.
"Smoke detectors will have an expiration date on the back of the battery door," Eldredge said. "Make sure and check that as well."
When it comes to space heaters, Eldredge says to always read the warning tags attached to the cord. Nothing should be near the heater for at least three feet in any direction and make sure the heater is unplugged when no one is home.
Candles can also be extremely dangerous, especially if pets are around. Keep candles where pets can't knock them over and always remember to put them out before leaving the house.
Eldredge says there are several things to look out for that are electrical hazards.
"Never use an extension cord for long periods of time. People start adding a lot of surge protectors or the multi-outlets and you're putting a lot more load on that outlet. Then, with the little three way converters that put a mechanical strain on the outlet, that can damage the outlet," he said.
When it comes to pets Eldredge says to never use electrical blankets for your pet's beds. He says dogs or cats can claw and bite the cords and wires that could cause fires.
While a smoke detector may not save your house – it can save your life.
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