Russell County

Fire in Russell County kills one person, sends another to burn center

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - A devastating loss in Castlewood, Virginia when an early morning fire tears through a home Saturday, killing one person and sending another to a burn center in Atlanta, Georgia.

While names are not being released just yet, fire officials are worried about the winter fire season.

Flames tore through a home on Red Oak Ridge Road just after 8 a.m. Saturday. "We got it under control pretty quick, but unfortunately it was too late," said Chief Sonny Austin of the Copper Creek Moccasin Fire Department.

The fire killed one person and badly burned another person's chest, face, arms, and even their hands.

Very little is left behind and it's unclear whether the home had working smoke detectors. "State police are investigating the cause of the fire; however, we can only suspect that it is caused by a space heater on the other end of the mobile home," said Emergency Management Director Jess Powers.

Powers says there seems to be a troubling trend in Russell County. "When the temperature drops below 32 degrees we see an increase in fires," he explained.

The reason why starts with how people try to keep warm. "Usually the residents will try to supplement their heat source by using a fireplace that they've not used in a long time, using wood to burn and they haven't properly cleared their chimney," added Powers.

To make sure there aren't more fires, Powers suggests using alternative heaters safely and always checking your smoke detectors.

We also checked with the Mountain Empire Chapter of the Red Cross; executive director Felisha McNabb says there have been an unusually high amount of fires in January and February.

The Red Cross has been busy helping those families that lost their homes. To keep your family safe the rest of the winter season, McNabb suggests preparing an escape plan in case of fire.

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