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House Fires Sweep Across the Big Country

<SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: ; FONT-SIZE: x-small" mce_style="FONT-FAMILY: ; FONT-SIZE: x-small"> <P>Freezing temperatures aren't the only problem sweeping across the Big Country, an alarming number of house fires have kept fire crews busy.</P></SPAN>

As the cold weather hits the Big Country, many people are pulling out space heaters and heating lamps to keep warm. Last week, an Abilene garage apartment burned down in the 1200 block of Cypress St. Firefighters believed a heating lamp used to keep pets warm could have been the cause.

Just a few days later another Abilene pet owner, this time on Coventry Circle, called 9-1-1 after her home went up in smoke for the same reason. On Tuesday morning, a home along FM 1770 in Novice was destroyed after a fire place was believed to spark flames.

"Once the hot spot built up and got up into the roof and hit the composite shingles it was just like a fire box," said Novice Fire Chief, Ernie Chapman.

Later that same day, fire crews were called out to a home in the 1300 block of Burger in north Abilene after an electrical space heater was left too close to clothes and other combustibles that caught a bedroom on fire.

"When I opened the door it was all up in flames, it was just black. Black smoke coming out, couldn't see nothing couldn't even see the TV or the bed or anything it was just so black," said Christina French, who escaped the house fire on Burger Street with her baby.

Lucky for these homeowners, they and a two month old baby made it out safety along with their three dogs. Chief Chapman says the recent rains could have saved the Novice structure fire from becoming an even bigger problem.

"If it hadn't had rained then the pasture could have caught on fire and the way the wind was blowing this morning it would have just head out and there's just no telling how much would have burned up," said Chief Chapman.

If you still plan on using space heaters or heating lamps to stay warm, the Abilene Fire Department wants to remind people to keep them away from any combustibles.

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