It has been a frantic fall for firefighters in at least one area county, and they're hoping winter will be quieter.
Since October, fire departments in Russell County, Virginia have worked 11 house fires that destroyed homes. "I see it all the time on the news Russell County. People are dying in these fires and most of them are from supplementing their heat source," says fire victim Linda Steffey.
In Russell County, there have been 11 house fires since October, leaving fire crews battling about one house fire a week and fire victims like Steffey struggling to figure out what to do next. "[My son] just yelled ,'Fire!' I looked and my bedroom was ablaze. It was totally in flames," adds Steffey.
Steffey's home caught fire on Saturday, leaving her without a place to live and without clothing. "We don't know if [our landlord] can redo that mobile home or if he's going to replace it yet," she said.
Steffey believes the fire started from a breaker box in her bedroom.
We discovered she isn't the only one who had a fire due to faulty wiring. Emergency Management Director Jess Powers tells us out of 11 fires, five of them are related to electrical sources or space heaters.
That's why firefighters say you need to be extra careful during the winter time when your heating source is on. "Make sure there is nothing laying on top of them, and make sure that they are far enough away from your furniture and drapes," says Lebanon Fire Chief Brad Cook.
Cook tells us the recent fires are putting a strain on their manpower. "The volunteers, they have full-time jobs. They are still having to work their full-time jobs, and answering calls when they can puts a strain on the departments," he said.
Meanwhile, fire victims like Linda Steffey are thankful for the firefighters who helped her and her family. She tells us because of them, everything wasn't a total loss. "We managed to save everything other than what was in the bedroom," she said.
Steffey tells us this Christmas they are thankful for each other because the fire could've been a lot worse.
Fire Chief Cook also says many fires are caused by overloaded electrical outlets and to make sure you use power strips. He also suggests that twice a year, you should do a walk-thru of your home to make sure there's nothing that might start a fire.