More Preventable Fires In Midland Leave Many Homeless 9/17/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
September 17, 2012
MIDLAND, TX - Midland Fire Department is seeing the number of preventable fires growing. According to fire officials, the shortage in the housing is leaving many fire victims displaced, searching for help from local shelters.
They say they've seen a trend in recent fires in the city limits. Many started from lint in dryers or children playing with matches.
"Parents need to be vigilant all the time; especially with small children, between the ages of 5 – 10. That seems to be our biggest age group. [They should] keep matches and lighters up away from their kids and to monitor their kids, all the time,” said Midland Fire Marshal David Hickman.
They say that after the fire is out, the battle for the victims is just beginning. Many families are left without a place to go and they depend on agencies like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to help them through.
"With the current situation in housing… if we have a family that is a victim of a fire, normally we would try to put them in a hotel to keep the family together, as many days as they need. But there's no hotels and motels readily available. Our only other option is to use our shelter," said Captain Tex Ellis, the Midland Salvation Army Commander.
Ellis says they push their population capacity to the max each day.
"Because of the housing situation, our shelter has been at about 99% capacity for the past year," said Captain Tex Ellis.
Now fire officials are warning people to be proactive in they’re fire safety plans, preventing them and their families from becoming homeless.
Some safety tips you can use to prevent fires:
1.Blow out all candles.
2.Do not over crowd electric sockets.
3.Turn off heat appliances, like curling irons and blow dryers.
4.Create and practice an escape plan, just in case of a fire.