When the temperature drops, people who are desperate to stay warm often take risks and the San Antonio Fire Chief said he wants everyone to stop gambling with their lives.
Tuesday a 75-year-old man died during a house fire on Belmont.
The Chief Hood said the tragic incident was caused by the man getting too close to an open flame on his oven or stove.
"We do know he had some type of baggy clothing on and that is one thing that we continue to stress with our seniors, is to make sure that you don't have those big flowing housecoats on in the house," Hood said.
Hood said with more bitter cold in the forecast, now is the time for neighbors to look in on seniors and other neighbors to keep people safe.
"We are expecting a couple more cold nights so it's really imperative that we take this opportunity to again, educate the citizens on the challenges that we see every single day," Hood continued "We have gone out to every senior center in the last month to talk about heating emergencies. We need to continue to push this message out."
The chief said carbon monoxide poisoning is another threat and so far there have been 12 carbon monoxide responses already this year.
Hood said although nobody was taken to a hospital for treatment, using charcoal for heat, or other unapproved heat sources, is always dangerous.
Hood said "You will see people die. They go to bed at night and it's a peaceful death."
With regard to other causes for concern, Hood said portable heaters and candles should never be left unattended and space heaters should be turned off when people are sleeping.
Hood said fireplace and chimney fires can be prevented.
"Wrapping paper or anything that is not wood, do not burn it in the fireplace. This causes a creosote build up in the chimney," Hood said.
Hood said hoarding caused a problem in the 200 block of Montpelier Tuesday when fire personnel had a hard time accessing the source of the blaze.
"Hoarding is a concern. I'm trying to be nice. They store a lot of stuff in their homes and it makes it extremely difficult. It increases the fire load and the house was stuffed full," Hood said.
A neighbor said no people were injured during the fire, but three dogs died.
"It's a challenge for us to get in and safely maneuver to put the fire out and to do search and rescue, so hoarding can kill you," Hood said.
The chief added that they would always rather hear from someone before a problem turns deadly.
"If you have a concern to where your heater is making a crazy noise, you're hearing sparking, flickering, any type of emergency like that, you smell something unusual, call us," Hood said.
The chief said any senior in need of a smoke alarm can make arrangements to get one for free by calling 2-1-1.
The City's non-emergency helpline of 3-1-1 should be used to report unsecured abandoned buildings that may be a fire risk.
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