Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services responded to a structure fire in Front Royal Sunday afternoon.
According a release sent out by the department, around 3 p.m. on Sunday a woman woke up when her dogs started barking. She safely removed herself and her five dogs from the home, according to the release.
The woman and her dogs were the only ones home at the time of the fire. Fire crews contained the fire in roughly 10 minutes with the help of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control officers.
The Warren County Fire Marshal’s office investigated the fire and determined it was started by a couch placed too close to an electric baseboard heater, the release states.
According to Facebook posts, the woman and her boyfriend, who was away for the weekend, are receiving assistance from the Red Cross which is providing housing in a local hotel for a week. More than a hundred comments appeared on a post from another citizen asking for assistance to help the couple and their pets.
The release states the fire caused about $60,000 in damages.
Warren County Fire Chief Richard Mabie stated in the press release that heating appliances are the second-leading cause of house fires across the nation as temperatures drop.
The release included a number of suggestions to keep homes safe this winter as heating appliances become necessary.
Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from baseboard heaters, space heaters, wood stoves or a fireplace.
Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room.
If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet.
Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected annually and cleaned if necessary. Chimney tar buildup is a common cause of chimney fires.
Dispose of hot ashes in covered metal containers placed away from the house.
The release also warned homeowners to make sure their smoke detectors are functioning and have fresh batteries. Smoke alarms should be installed in every level of a home, the release states.