Fire damages Murfreesboro home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

MURFREESBORO – A house fire here Thursday afternoon that caused $20,000 in damage has been blamed on the use of gasoline in a kerosene heater.

Murfreesboro Fire Chief Billy Deanes reported that one of the occupants of a residence, located at 123 Revelle Park Lane (off Storey Road), mistakenly placed gas in a kerosene heater. The home is owned by Victoria Flythe.

&uot;She told us that the heater exploded,&uot; said Deanes, who noted that heavy smoke and flames were showing from the residence upon the fire department’s arrival at 3:09 p.m. &uot;She tried her best to carry the heater out of the house. She made it from the bedroom to the kitchen, but the smoke was so bad that she had to drop the heater and flee for her own safety.&uot;

Deanes said Flythe was not injured.

Upon his investigation, Deans learned that another occupant of the home, James T. Jennings, was asked by Flythe to purchase kerosene for the heater.

&uot;Apparently, Mr. Jennings used the same container he keeps the gas for his lawnmower and instead of purchasing kerosene, he purchased gas and used it in the heater. When I asked him to show me the jug he used to fill the heater with, I smelled the liquid inside that jug and it most definitely was gasoline.&uot;

The heating unit did not immediately explode. Deanes figured that the well area surrounding the wick was still full of kerosene.

&uot;The explosion occurred when all the kerosene finally burnt off and the gas hit the flame,&uot; noted the Fire Chief. &uot;That’s the bad news. The good news is that no one was injured.&uot;

With the exception of one room, fire, smoke and water damage was noted throughout the residence.

Deanes said Flythe did not have insurance.

Eight firefighters and three units from the Murfreesboro Fire Department remained at the scene until shortly past 5 p.m. The Conway Fire Department was called in for assistance – responding with nine men and one unit.

&uot;Our thanks goes out to Conway for their help,&uot; said Deanes. &uot;That’s what it’s all about in our area – one department helping another.&uot;

Deanes advised those using kerosene heaters to be extremely careful.

&uot;My best advice is to have properly marked containers, one for gas and one for kerosene,&uot; he stressed. &uot;That would avoid any confusion.&uot;

Deanes also said warned that hot heaters should be allowed to cool before adding kerosene. He advised it was a good practice to keep a window slightly open within the residence when a kerosene heater was in use. Those types of heaters quickly evaporate oxygen.