URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — One Champaign County fire official is stressing the importance of fire safety after a woman barely escaped a fire that destroyed her home last week.
The fire happened Thursday morning just outside of Urbana on High Cross Road between Curtis and Windsor Roads. Michael Dilley, a fire investigator with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Investigative Fire Team, said it is believed that the fire was caused by a hot tub.
The hot tub was in the ground floor garage and the fire spread to an apartment above. Although no one was hurt, there was no working smoke detector.
This is another reason why Dilley urged people to make sure their home smoke detectors are working.
“In 40 years of doing this, I have never been at fatality fire where there was a working smoke detector,” Dilley said.
The Champaign County SIFT has been in operation for about two months and has investigated eight fires, including Thursday’s. Dilley said flames can start in many ways, but plenty can be avoided if people pay attention and take the proper precautions.
“Things like long-use extension cords, improperly discarded smoking materials, proper cooking,” Dilley said. “And at this time of the year, heating elements.”
He added that proper placement of candles and checking dryers can prevent incidents from happening too.
Dilley also said putting smoke detectors in or outside the bedroom is one solution. He also stressed having a plan for evacuation when a fire gets out of hand.