Branson firefighters responded to a residential structure fire in the 1500 block of Todd Drive at 11:00am Friday morning. The home was occupied by two adults (1 male / 1 female) and two small children (both male – approximately 2 and 4 years old). The occupants discovered smoke coming from a bedroom of the home following the activation of a smoke alarm. The male occupant discovered a small fire in the closet of one of the boys bedrooms. He immediately evacuated the family from the home and placed a call to 9-1-1. He then re-entered the home and used a cooking pot to dump water on the fire, almost completely extinguishing it. Firefighters were able to enter the home and confirm fire extinguishment and no fire spread as they used a thermal imaging camera to check the adjacent floor, walls, and ceiling areas. Fire damage was contained to some clothing and minor smoke damage throughout the house.
The male occupant did however receive minor burns while working to extinguish the fire. He was attended to by firefighters on scene as well as Taney County Paramedics. He refused transport by ambulance with plans to go by private car to seek medical care for the burns.
The fire was caused by a four year old child who was playing with a lighter and subsequently caught clothing on fire in his closet. Both adults of the home stated they smoke cigarettes and have a designated place for these items including lighters. They were not sure how the child got ahold of the lighter.
“This particular fire provides an opportunity for a lot of reinforcement of our fire prevention messages we share throughout the year,” stated Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin. Working smoke alarms alerted the family of the fire in the home and caused for a quick evacuation of this family of four. “This weekend we encourage residents to make a life-saving change, to change batteries in smoke alarms this weekend as we change the clocks back one hour for daylight savings time as part of the Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery campaign.” stated Chief Martin.
Additionally, firefighters encourage families to make sure matches and lighters are stored in a safe location away from small children. “Remember, big fires start small, small fires produce a large amount of smoke, and smoke is typically the killer in residential house fires,” stated Chief Martin.