1 dead in Quitman County fire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Two dead in Quitman Co. fire identified


The Georgia Fire Commissioner's Office says two people dead in an early morning Georgetown fire. 

Around 5:00 Friday morning, firefighters were called to the home at 16 Thomas Road in Georgetown. Killed in the fire were Johnny Gibbs, 51, and Carletha Peterson, 62.

In a little over a week, five south Georgia house fires have claimed 8 lives. But even fires in which no one is seriously hurt or killed, firefighters see a common trend.

"38 % of house fires there is no working smoke detector," said Albany Assistant Fire Chief Sebon Burns. He says with the amount of fire education it's a shocking statistic. With no warning, most people who die in house fires likely had no idea there was home was a blaze.

"Most people who go to sleep, like I do, go into a deep sleep. What that smoke does, it puts you in a deeper sleep."

But even in a home with a working smoke detector, people can still fall victim without a proper escape plan. "Most people stand straight up in a panic mode. What we teach people to do is roll out of bed, crawl below the smoke, have two exit points and a safety meeting place for your family."

While many fatal fires are caused by improper heating sources, others are sparked by unattended cooking. But there is now a tool on the market that can be placed above your stove to extinguish flames. It's called 'firestop' and its proven to save property and lives.

Still a safety plan and a working smoke detector will ultimately cut down on fire deaths and injuries. "It's still amazing that people die by not having on a seat belt. Well as a firefighter, it's a amazing to have a home without a working smoke detector in that house,"Sebon said.

Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reminds Georgians to make sure they have working smoke alarms on each level of their home. "With this tragedy in Georgetown, we've had 22 fire deaths so far this year," Hudgens said.  "I urge Georgian to use extreme caution while cooking and heating their homes."

Fire deaths typically rise as the weather gets colder. Last week, five people died in house fires in Donalsonville, Nashville, and Albany. The small city of Georgetown experienced a similar tragedy last November when two children were killed in a house fire.


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