STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
KINGSLAND — A wood stove used for heating possibly sparked a blaze that destroyed a ranch house on New Year’s Day, according to the Kingsland Volunteer Fire Department.
The fire was reported at 10:05 a.m. Jan. 1 at the 4S Ranch, located in the 5000 block of RR 1431, just north of CR 3404 (Slab Road).
Two people inside safely evacuated the house.
“After the fire started, everyone got out,” Kingsland Area VFD Chief Darryl Miller said of at least two people who were inside the home.
“The best of my understanding, the fire was possibly caused by a wood-burning stove,” he added. “Someone was stoking the fire. It just got too hot. The stove caught the wall on fire.”
The agency called on volunteer agencies from Buchanan Dam and Sunrise Beach Village to assist with supplying water to battle the fire.
Frigid temperatures in the lower 20s posed a challenge to the firefighters on the scene.
“We were out there fighting with ice on our suits,” Miller said. “Water was freezing on our bunker gear.”
According to the National Weather Service, freezing temperatures could continue overnight and into the early morning hours for the next several days.
The fire’s suspected source prompted a warning from officials about efforts to heat homes in freezing temperatures.
“If they’re burning a wood stove, don’t get it too hot,” Miller said. “Use normal heat.”
He cautioned residents to pay close attention to their heat source.
“If you’re sleeping, there’s all kinds of possibilities with wood stoves (or fireplaces). It can pop a spark out,” he said. “You get a hot amber or coal on the rug, it’s easy to catch on fire.”
The chief added that, on a couple of recent emergency calls, he discovered some dangerous situations that could lead to fires.
“I’ve been in a couple of trailers where (residents were) using (floor) heaters. We moved blankets away from them,” he said. “Don’t have the heaters too close to beds and blankets.
“They’re just trying to do the best they can to stay warm,” Miller added. “They just need to be careful.”