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Fatal Fire in Supply, NC, Ruled Accidental

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Investigators have ruled a fatal fire in Supply as accidental.

Investigators said the fire at 2570 Hazelnut Trail was ruled accidental in nature and that there was no evidence of any foul play.

They said the fire started in the living room and was caused by a heater being left too close to combustible materials. Investigators said there was no evidence of operating smoke alarms found during their investigation.

Keith Thatcher, 22, Melissa Thatcher, 23, and Caleb Rankin, 3, all died in that fire. Melissa Thatcher was four months pregnant, officials said.

Investigators said the cause of their deaths was determined to be smoke inhalation.


By James E. Winslow, MD, MPH

With the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, it is important for EMS personnel to be familiar with characteristics of the disease, how to screen for it, how to protect themselves, and how to care for these patients.

Given that the U.S. is a country of 300 million, there is a very low risk of a healthcare worker being exposed to a person with Ebola and an even lower risk for the general population. That being said, it is the role of EMS personnel to train in how to recognize, care for, and work safely around possible Ebola patients.



NFPA Post-Holiday Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more home structure fires in the cooler months than any other time of year. As pine needles begin to drop on living room carpets, NFPA is offering suggestions for safe storage and removal of holiday decorations.

“It’s not uncommon to see residents keeping lights and Christmas trees up past December,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “The reality is, continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out Christmas trees can pose significant fire hazards in and outside the home.”

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they have a higher chance of being deadly. NFPA recommends getting rid of the tree when it’s dry. Dried trees should not be kept in the home, garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.


Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Reinforces Newer Smoke Alarm Recommendations during Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, 2011

What’s the best way to protect your family from fire? Be ahead of the game, of course. With more than 360,000 home fires reported in the United States in 2009, according to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), your best defense is a good offense. That’s why Beech Mountain’s Volunteer Fire Department is teaming up with NFPA during the October 9-15, 2011, to let our community know: “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!” This year’s campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires -- cooking, heating and electrical equipment, as well as candles and smoking materials. Additionally, it urges people to protect their homes and families with life-saving technology and planning.


Shedding Light on Another
Potential Fire Hazard

A couple of years ago, I moved into a new house and found in virtually every light socket a compact fluorescent lamp. These are the spiral light bulbs that are supposed to be much more energy efficient than the incandescent light bulb, which had been the standard since Thomas Edison perfected it in 1879. Indeed, CFLs last up to 15 times longer and use only one-third the energy of traditional light bulbs. Finding that my new home was festooned with them pleased me greatly, as I am equal parts environmentalist and cheapskate. I had read that should a CFL ever shatter the hazmat team should be dispatched because of the bulb’s high mercury content, but I wasn’t very concerned about that, as clumsiness is not amongst my traits.


Smoking Safety

Careless Smoking: The #1 Cause of Fire Deaths

Fires started with smoking materials are the leading cause of fire-related deaths in the United States and also a leading cause of fire injuries among older people. Cigarette fires occur from being carelessly discarded in the trash, smoking in bed and being dropped in upholstered furniture. Many times alcohol and medication use plays a role. Often the smoker falls asleep, the cigarette falls on a sofa or chair cushion where it can smolder for hours.

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