HONESDALE—A fire broke out late Monday night into Tuesday morning on Robin Lane, off of Route 191, near the Sunrise Terrace Mobile Home Park, prompting swift response from the Honesdale Fire Department and assisting responders from the White Mills, Seelyville and Prompton departments.
Honesdale Fire Chief Steve Bates said the department responded to a call for a possible generator fire around 11:45 p.m.
The house was still without electricity as a result of Winter Storm Riley.
Upon arrival, responders found much of the house aflame and set to work bringing it under control.
Bates said they spent about two hours on scene to do so.
The structure sustained damage from water, smoke and fire as a result of the incident.
Four residents were home at the time and all made it out unscathed along with their pets.
This was Honesdale FD's 30th call since Riley blew in on Friday.
Staying safe in snowy storms
With the threat of Winter Storm Quinn at hand, the use of generators and space heaters will likely continue for some time yet.
Chief Bates encourages residents to be safe when utilizing such devices.
“Make sure when you use a generator that it's away from the house,” he said, explaining this prevents not only the risk of fire spreading to the house, but also carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the exhaust.
Bates also urges using caution when refueling generators lest some fuel spills and creates a fire hazard.
According to information from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), generators should be placed at least five feet – measured from the exhaust port – from all doors, windows and vent openings.
It should also not be placed inside a garage while active.
Appliances should be plugged directly into the generator or linked by means of a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord with no visible cuts nor tears.
NFPA reminds generator users to turn the machine off before refueling.
Similarly, ensure combustion-based heating elements such as fireplaces, wood stove and coal burners, are properly ventilated.
Their chimneys should be inspected annually by a professional to ensure they are free of soot build-up and other debris before lighting a fire underneath.
Check all dryer, fireplace, furnace, and stove vents for clarity after a snowfall to be sure they were not obscured during a storm.
When using a space heater, NFPA suggests residents maintain at least three feet of space between it and any flammable materials or young children.
Alert systems such as smoke and CO detectors are a valuable way to prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of a malfunctioning heating or power-producing apparatus.
NFPA recommends inspecting CO detectors at least once per month and interconnecting them so they sound in unison during an incident.
Even a small amount of CO over an extended period of time can cause harm to an individual.
A large amount of CO can be fatal in minutes.