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HEATH SPRINGS – A light-sleeping Heath Springs man is lucky to be alive after a fire consumed his Bowers Street mobile home on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder said the single-wide mobile home at 215B Bowers St. was approximately 40 percent involved with fire when firefighters from the Heath Springs Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly after the 5:27 p.m. call.
Blackwelder said though the “60s-era” 12-by-30-foot mobile home was small, the fire turned out to be harder than expected to extinguish.
“It was pretty well going when they got there, but the complicating factor was it had two roofs,” Blackwelder said.
“A newer wood truss roof had been added on to the original roof and the fire got between them, so it took a long time and a lot of water and effort, but they got it extinguished. It was a complete loss, though.”
Firefighters were on the scene until 8 p.m., Blackwelder said, and had to break through the under-roof and tear away portions of the home’s awning in order to inject fire-retardant foam between the two roofs.
Blackwelder said the single, middle-aged man who lived at the home escaped uninjured after the smell of smoke woke him as he slept on the couch in the living room.
Investigators believe the fire started with an electrical short in the area of a fan that was plugged into a wall socket in the man’s bedroom.
“He’s very lucky because there wasn’t a smoke detector in the house,” Blackwelder said. “Everybody should have at least one in their residence, especially one somewhere near your bedroom.
“And if you have one, make sure you have good, fresh batteries in it,” he said.
Blackwelder said even a simple smoke detector, which start at about $16 at some stores, are worth the expense.
Fire prevention officials say residents should check batteries often and set some time of year, such as daylight savings time changes, to swap out their smoke detector batteries.
Blackwelder said the Kershaw and Rich Hill volunteer fire departments assisted on Wednesday’s call.
The man was assisted by the Red Cross and family members.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151.