Housefires in the Central Valley spike


FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Dr. Mike Darracq is a medical toxicologist at Community Regional Medical Center.

He’s part of the staff treating the growing number of burn patients admitted in recent days. He says that some of the worst fire dangers are the ones you never see.

“It’s so important to recognize there are a lot of silent things that go on with house fires and flames, in particular, some gasses that are released,” said Dr. Darracq.

These gases can cause everything from headaches to confusion to blackouts.
He says as the weather gets colder, the greater the danger from invisible dangers like carbon monoxide poisoning.

“People are looking for ways to try to stay warm. they’re bringing in barbeques, grills, into their home or living space, they’re turning on their gas-powered ovens and leaving them on overnight to heat their home.

He says the best way to survive a release of toxic gas is to get away fast.

“The most important thing is to get out and away from the source,” Darracq said.

That is where the Central Valley Red Cross comes in. They offer free fire emergency planning, and free smoke detectors that come with installation included.

“When a home fire starts, you have an average of two minutes, and that’s not a lot of time and if it’s in the middle of the night, and you’re asleep, you know, you have very little time,” said Lori Wilson, the Executive Director of the Red Cross Central Valley Chapter. “And, your best chance is a working smoke alarm, and so that what we’re trying to try to prevent injuries and prevent deaths.”

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