Tippecanoe County firefighters highlight fire safety after 4 fatal fires in 48 hours

Colder temps. increase use of alt. heat sources

LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Four fatal fires in 48 hours and frigid temperatures have led Tippecanoe County firefighters to feel a greater sense of urgency to spread awareness.

Firefighters said as it gets colder, people need to make sure alternate heat sources are used properly.

A fire destroyed a home in Dayton, Ind. off Interstate 65 and claimed the life of Jimmy Edwards and his dog.

There was not a working smoke detector in his home.

“He loved his grandsons. My daughter already has two boys, and he was also looking forward to the granddaughter, but he never made it to see her,” said Virginia Richardson, Edwards’ ex-wife.

Another blaze in the same time period sent a man to the hospital with severe burns.

The cause of that fire was a kerosene heater.

“It’s just unheard of. Its stuff you hear out of New York City or something like that. It’s not something you hear in Tippecanoe County,” said Bill Huffer of the Sheffield Township Fire Department.

Firefighters have now placed a greater focus on safety measurements and preventing fires.

In two of the fatal fires, firefighters said there were not working smoke detectors.

Todd Trent, fire inspector for the city of Lafayette, said to check your batteries and remember smoke detectors do not last forever.

“What people don’t understand is each smoke detector has a born-on date. That allows the smoke detector to be in place for ten years,” Trent said.

Firefighters advise to always practice safety in the home and with your kids.

All fire departments near the Lafayette area will meet Friday morning to see what else can be done to spread fire safety awareness.

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