House fire leads to one fatality

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Decatur County Fire and Rescue, along with the Georgia Department of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner responded to a fire on Simmons- McIntyre Road in Attapulgus on Monday, where one man succumbed to his injuries.

Department of Insurance and Safety Fire employee, Tony Pritchett said they completed their investigation and found that no foul play was involved, but that the fire was accidental and a result of a space heater.

Terri Blackner, Director of Criminal Investigations for the Georgia Insurance Department said this is third incident with a fatality due to space heaters.

Email newsletter signup

The resident appeared to have plugged his space heater into a power strip or extension cord, which caused the fire.

“It (space heaters) pull way too much power for the outlets to also charge cell phones or things such as that, causing the strip to either trip or catch on fire,” Martin Sullivan, Chief of Staff said.

Blackner said extension cords are also dangerous, especially in older model space heaters.

The investigation is still ongoing, but Blackner said one of the things they’ve noticed in the fire fatalities they’ve investigated this year is only five percent of the homes had working smoke detectors.

In this particular home, Fire Investigator for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, James Akins said he did not find a smoke detector in the resident’s home.

Sullivan reminds everyone to make sure their smoke detector is working and to change the batteries every six months.

“Change your smoke detector batteries, every time you change your clock,” he said.

It is unclear if the resident was asleep at the time of the fire and awoke to it or not. However, the home is a complete loss and the Department of Insurance and Safety Fire is hoping to provide some comfort to the family during this time.

The name of the victim will not be released until a complete autopsy has been completed.

The Georgia Insurance Department and DCFR are asking residents to follow the safety warnings attached to space heaters and remember not to plug them into power strips or extension cords this holiday season as the weather drops into the colder temperatures.