St. Landry

Nov 13, 2013 5:33 PM by PRESS RELEASE

Red Cross helps family of 13 after house fire, provides safety tips

The American Red Cross is assisting an Opelousas family of 13, including eight children, after a home fire last night. The Tuesday evening blaze, about 7:30 p.m., was on East Madison Street in Opelousas.

The Red Cross is helping coordinate assistance in the form of shelter, food, clothing, shoes and emotional support due to fire damage, as well as referrals to our community partners.

Although the cause of the fire was undetermined as of last night, the American Red Cross urges families to be cautious when using space heaters and other heating sources, as temperatures dip across south Louisiana. Heating sources are the leading cause of winter fires, and increase during the winter months of December, January and February.

Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends keeping anything that can burn such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and fireplaces and to never leave these unattended.

"Last year the Acadiana Area Chapter helped more than 114 families after home fires in our region, including helping 25 families in St. Landry Parish," said Tony Credeur, regional preparedness manager. "But the good news is you can reduce your risk of a home fire."

The American Red Cross offers the following fire prevention tips:
· All heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
· Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
· Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
· Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
· Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
· If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of Acadiana residents to be ready to respond and help our neighbors who are affected by home fires. You can help your neighbors recover from disasters like home fires by making a tax-deductible donation today. To make a financial donation please visit www.redcross.org/lafayette, call (337) 234-7371, or mail a check to 101 N. Pat St., Scott, LA 70583.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

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