CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Winter is the peak season for fires with people using space heaters and even candles to heat home, electrical overloads and sealed up houses making them more combustible with higher carbon monoxide readings.
Even homeless people lighting fires in houses to keep warm.
Two fires in two days have ravaged two neighborhoods, an early morning fire on Parmelee in Cleveland's Glenville area not only destroying one house but displacing people on either side.
“It was terrifying, it really was, to see it go that fast,” said neighbor Pat Warren, who was getting ready for bed at two o’clock. “I just came upstairs I didn’t see no house on fire. I come back down here, the whole front of the house, you just saw the fire going straight up the inside of the house, going straight up and down in the middle of the house.”
A neighbor who did not want to be identified said they could hear noises coming from outside, and they didn’t know what was going on.
“I was sitting on the couch, falling asleep actually, I heard some noise coming from outside, wasn’t sure what it was and I looked , it was a house on fire,” said the next-door neighbor. “The more the flames got out of control they more they coming through the windows and burning the house up.”
Four people inside raced outside but then concern shifted to the neighbor on the other side of the burning house.
“That lady in the house is old and she was in house,” said Warren. “The fire hit her window and then she saw the sparks and she heard him banging on her window and she heard him say, ‘Get out, it’s a fire.’ That’s how she woke up.”
Neighbors say the woman who lived in the house that caught fire had moved out a few months ago and the Cleveland Fire Department has not determined a cause yet although they expect to demolish the house by next Tuesday.
Displaced neighbors spent Saturday assessing the damage and gathering their belongings.
“I got to move my mom into a whole new house so hopefully we can find something," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. "So we basically about to start over.”
The Cleveland Fire Department recommends getting your furnace checked and having the chimney flu open to draw gases outside and not warm up a car up in the garage since it increases carbon monoxide.
They also recommend checking smoke alarms and making sure space heaters are three feet away from drapes and furniture and to make sure space heaters and all heat-producing appliances are plugged directly into outlets and not an extension cord or power strip.