TY TY, GA (WALB) - What used to be home to Robert Edmondson, his ex-wife Margarite, and their 13-year-old son is now a charred camper that is barely recognizable.
"Last night was the worst case scenario. Precautions were not being taken. There could have possibly been a leak in the line we just don't know. But that is the type of things that can happen. Those folks are lucky to be alive," said Michael Coleman with the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department.
And this is why firefighters say it is important to have a professional look at your heating system, especially after months of not using it. "Have someone, a professional, either with the city gas company or someone with a private gas company, have them come check the lines," said Coleman.
Firefighters say you need to shut off your gas completely when igniting your pilot light. "The general rule of thumb is to wait five to ten minutes to allow the gas fumes to purge themselves before trying to relight," said Coleman.
They also say space heaters should never be the primary source of heat for a home. "Those heaters are not made to heat entire households for any length of time. We know folks use those," said Coleman.
And they say if you do use them you should never leave them on unattended. "We just urge that if they do, they keep them away from any type of drapery, bedding, mattresses, or carpet," said Coleman.
They also say you should never use a stove as a source of heat. "Those appliances are not designed to heat homes. We are on trying times economically speaking, not all folks can afford to have the proper heating appliances," said Coleman.
But using improper sources to heat your home is not worth losing your home or your life. Firefighters recommend that families who use gas to heat their homes or power their appliances buy a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is odorless, hence, detectors are needed. But the best detector for gas leaks other than meters used by professionals is your sense of smell.