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Lee Woolf: Timely tips to reduce risk of fire
Some timely summer tips to reduce the risk of fire.

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Date published: 6/20/2001


AMONG LIFE'S PHOBIAS, the fear of fire must rank pretty high for most people. Besides being a gruesome threat to life, fire also can destroy our home and most of our possessions in a matter of minutes.

The risk of fire came to mind recently for several reasons.

For one, I returned from a 13-day vacation (Wyoming and Montana, in case you're curious). And whenever I'm gone for that long, I have a nagging fear that I'll make that last turn into my cul-de-sac and be greeted by a group of solemn neighbors and a pile of ashes.

This time, fortunately, the welcoming committee consisted of two happy dogs standing in about 8 inches of green grass.

A few days later, on my first day back to work, our office on Garrisonville Road was visited by three representatives of the Stafford Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services. Their purpose was an annual fire safety survey of the building.

They found several hazards that are violations of the Stafford County fire code. The batteries apparently are dead in the emergency exit lights, some electrical wiring is exposed in the storage room and there are flammable materials stored too close to the panel boxes, water heater and heat pump unit.

All of these situations will be corrected before the inspectors' return visit next month.

The most dramatic reminder about the risk of fire, however, happened only a couple of hours after the inspectors left our building. That's when several fire trucks flew past our office with sirens blaring on their way to a house fire at 25 Canter Place, just off nearby Rock Hill Church Road.

Firefighters from throughout the county were involved in a 40-minute battle to bring the blaze under control. But in the end, the home waswell, you guessed ita pile of ashes.

The home's owners, Matt and Margaret Canter, have my sympathy. And the exact cause of the fire had not been determined as of late last week.

Still, this series of fire-related thoughts prompted me to call Chuck Thompson, the director of emergency management, and ask about summer fire safety measures.

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