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Common Theme Emerges in Area House Fires

Officials stress importance of working smoke detectors in wake of recent death and injury

Investigators from the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding two recent residential fires that left 1 resident dead and one in Intensive Care with severe burns.


The first incident occurred Thursday night when a mobile home caught fire in the 16700 block of Main Street in Patton Village. Firefighters from Splendora and New Caney responded and pulled the 67 year old resident from the home in cardiac arrest. MCHD-EMS Paramedics were on scene and immediately started life saving efforts before transporting the victim to Kingwood Hospital. MCHD-EMS Paramedics were able to resuscitate the victim and he is currently in the intensive care unit suffering from severe burns and other fire related injuries.

Just two days later, Splendora and New Caney Firefighters were again called to a major fire in the same area, this time near Splendora. Firefighters arrived to find a home on Hill and Dale Terrace heavily involved in fire. Crews from Splendora and New Caney entered the burning home and found the home’s resident unconscious in a bathroom. Firefighters pulled him out of the burning home but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Firefighters from Porter, Caney Creek, Central Montgomery County and Plum Grove in Liberty County assisted as well. The victim has been identified as 55 yr old Timothy Burnett. A preliminary autopsy reveals that Mr. Burnett died of smoke inhalation and MCFMO Investigators believe that additional lab results will confirm high levels of toxic fire gases in his bloodstream, such as Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen Cyanide. The investigation continues into the cause of both fires.

In just the past few weeks there have been a number of home fires that could have had fatal consequences. Earlier this month, a 15 yr old teen and his 5 yr old brother were forced to break out a bedroom window and escape when they were trapped in their burning mobile home in Willis.

A number of these fires share a common theme, either missing or non-functioning smoke detectors. Smoke detectors were present in the home in Willis, but the batteries were missing and there is no indication of working smoke detectors in the most recent fatal fire this weekend.

With the approach of cooler weather, the number of fires across the nation will grow. Increasing numbers of home fires due to home heating and holiday cooking lead to a spike every year across the nation in both the number of fires and the number of persons killed in home fires.

As the peak season for home fires approaches, fire officials are calling for action on the part of homeowners and residents to limit the damage and deaths due to fire in our area. The Porter, New Caney and Splendora Fire Departments all have assistance programs for homeowners who cannot afford a smoke a detector or need assistance installing them in their home. If you are a homeowner and need assistance please contact your local fire station.

If you are renting an apartment, house or mobile home, State law requires your landlord to install smoke detectors in your home. After that, each tenant is responsible for maintaining fresh batteries in the detectors and notifying the landlord if the detectors need to be replaced.

Batteries should be replaced at least once a year, and now is the perfect time to get that done. As we change our clocks this weekend, we should be reminded that it is time to change the batteries in our smoke detectors. In addition, you should replace any smoke detectors over 10 years old as they lose their effectiveness over time.

Having working smoke detectors in your home cuts your chance of dying in a fire IN HALF. Smoke detectors should be placed in every bedroom, hallway and living area of your home. Avoid placing smoke detectors in the kitchen to avoid false activations, instead placing them in nearby rooms.


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