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House fire hospitalizes 2

The Kitts Hill Fire was the second to hit Lawrence County this week. This fire on Front Street in Proctorville occurred on Sunday morning.

The Kitts Hill Fire was the second to hit Lawrence County this week. This fire on Front Street in Proctorville occurred on Sunday morning.

A house fire at 712 Township Road 116 in Kitts Hill early Tuesday morning left two people hospitalized.

Lawrence County emergency dispatchers said that the fire departments of Aid, Decatur and Lawrence townships responded to a call reporting a structure fire at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The departments later confirmed the fire to dispatchers while also reporting that two occupants of the home were transported to area hospitals.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal was called to investigate the blaze.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” said Michael Duchesne, assistant director of communications for the fire marshal’s office. “The cause of the fire is undetermined, but we can’t rule out a portable heater.”

The fire in Kitts Hill was the second house fire this week. The first happened on the 400 block of Front Street in Proctorville on Sunday morning and claimed the life of Beth McDaniel. She was 47.

House fires during the winter months spike as temperatures drop and residents search for auxiliary heating sources, said Ironton Fire Department Chief Tom Runyon.

“You do tend to see a rise in home fires during this time of the year,” Runyon said. “People are looking for ways to stay warm by using auxiliary heaters that can sometimes be unsafe.”

Residents wanting to keep warm but avoid potential fire hazards need to employ some commonsense, said fire prevention specialist Mike Mahlmeister.

“It may seem obvious but when using those portable heaters you need to have a clear area of at least three feet,” Mahlmeister said. “Don’t leave anything flammable in front of them. Also if you’re using kerosene heaters, don’t try to fill them up with gasoline. We’ve seen that happen and it can be dangerous.”

For more fire prevention tips Mahlmesiter and Runyon both suggest checking out the state’s online winter fire safety page by visiting www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/winterfiresafetytips.