“An offensive fire is when we go inside and put the fire out, go inside, go right up to the fire,” he said.
That approach proved ineffective because of the size of the fire, Smith said, and safety became a concern. So firefighters backed out and went to a defensive operation.
“A defensive fire is, for whatever reason, too dangerous for us to go inside,” he said. “It’s too much fire, the building is falling down. We stay outside and throw water from a distance.”
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The fire caused about $50,000 worth of damage and the city has ordered the home demolished.
Residents need to check their fireplaces and stoves before lighting them, Smith said.
“Make sure a qualified chimney sweep has gone through there, inspected it and cleaned it out,” he said.
Every fire starts with a small spark, he said, and leaving one unattended and open is a bad idea.
“You need to have a screen,” Smith said. “That will cut down — it will not totally prevent it — but it will cut down on the sparks getting onto the carpet or a piece of paper laying on the hearth.”