A woman who shut a bedroom door after finding an electrical outlet on fire in a bedroom Thursday morning likely prevented further damage to her house, a firefighter said.
“This woman saved her own house,” said Toby Leinart, Oliver Springs Fire Department lieutenant. Leinart was the incident commander at the fire at the home at 612 Johnson Road on the southwest side of Oliver Springs at about 6:16 a.m. Thursday.
The female resident apparently closed the bedroom door out of instinct, putting the door between herself and danger, Leinart said. Firefighters say a closed door is one of the best pieces of firefighting and lifesaving equipment because it can reduce fire growth and spread, limit damage to a home, and possibly save lives.
“I believe that’s what saved her house today and reduced her damage down to one bedroom,” Leinart said. “I would just about guarantee that’s what saved the rest of her house.”
It’s advice that’s been shared by the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office in a “Close the Door” campaign. Even if you escape from your house during a fire, shut the door when you leave if you can, firefighters say. That will help limit oxygen to the fire. (Firefighters also recommend sleeping with bedroom doors closed if possible, and keeping fire doors closed.)
Leinart said the Johnson Road resident was awake when the fire started in an upstairs bedroom in a split foyer house, and she escaped. She had heard a pop and hum, and when she went to investigate, she found the electrical outlet on fire.
The woman lives with one dog and nine cats, Leinart said. The dog made it out, he said. Firefighters pulled out one cat that ran off and another that hung out with firefighters. They revived three cats with oxygen, and the homeowner took them to a veterinarian to be examined for possible smoke inhalation. Other cats perished in the fire, although firefighters couldn’t account for two of them, Leinart said.
He said the fire damage was confined to one room, and there was minor water damage in other parts of the house. The home also had extensive smoke damage, Leinart said.
He said firefighters probably arrived in five to seven minutes. Oliver Springs was helped by firefighters from Marlow, Blair, Oak Ridge, and Briceville.
Leinart said electrical components will have to be replaced before the Clinton Utilities Board will restore power to the home.
More information will be added as it becomes available.