MIAMI – A raging fire broke out Tuesday in a Miami woman's home, but her fast action kept her and her granddaughter safe, and the Miami Fire Department's quick response helped save the structure.
Miami firefighters responded immediately and were able to keep the residence of Sylvia Fairman located at 805 E Street NW in Miami from burning to the ground. The fire broke out around 12:07 p.m. in the utility/laundry room of the home.
“The owner was home doing laundry when she went to open her laundry room door, and it was full of smoke,” Miami Fire Department Deputy Chief Kyle Highsmith said. “She had her granddaughter there, and they got out and called.”
The Miami Fire Department's B Shift with Captain James Turner in charge was on site within minutes and there until 1:28 p.m. when they cleared the scene.
“When they got there, they had a heavy amount of smoke coming from the attic, and the fire had already vented through a window on the north side of the house,” Highsmith said.
The exact cause of the fire is still unknown, and Highsmith said he does not think the gas dryer being used at the time was the possible ignition point.
“We know it started in the utility room. What we could tell by the dryer, no. There were four breakers that had popped, so we really don't know if something else was going on,” he said. “What was weird was the inside of the dryer wasn't burnt up, and there was no sign of fire on the backside, so we don't really know.”
Within a short time, the fire burned rapidly through the laundry room extending into the kitchen causing extensive damages.
“I think it was already burning pretty good when she opened that door, and it's good they baled out immediately. There's heavy smoke damage throughout the house and a property loss of $10,000 at least,” Highsmith said. “I think that's a conservative estimate.”
There were no injuries incurred to the residents or firefighters.
MFD had two units respond, and Highsmith and Fire Chief Robert Wright, as well as Quapaw Tribe Fire/EMS, responded as an automatic mutual aid.
“The firefighters did an excellent job putting a stop on it. It could have been a lot worse,” Highsmith said.”Once a fire has vented it's got a good chance of going on and burning a house up. When it's vented, the fire has created its own air hole and blew out a window, so it was getting plenty of oxygen. Once that happens it can go fast. Just the heat, you know, you get 1,000-degree heat, and it's going to melt ceiling fans and everything else, and that's just from the heat.”
Because of quick response, the fire did not breach into the attic or rafters and was contained in the utility and kitchen area, although the structure suffered heavy smoke damages.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.