Fort Worth

1 Dead, 10 Displaced in House Fire: Fort Worth FD

Firefighters fight to get working smoke detectors in homes

For the second time in four days, a person has died in a house fire in Fort Worth. That makes three such fatalities this calendar year.[[290536771,L]]

The latest fire happened on Clinton Avenue, just north of Northside Drive.

One person died in the fire on the second floor of the house. Firefighters don't know if the person is a resident or guest.

Fort Worth Fire Department Lt. Kyle Falkner said they think the fire started on the second floor. They found only one smoke detector on the first floor and have not yet been able to confirm if there were any smoke detectors on the second floor.

Sandra Diaz lived on the second floor with her husband. She said that at about 3:30 a.m., they heard a small explosion and the lights went off, minutes later they encountered flames.

"We couldn't go downstairs anymore because there was fire and everything," she said. "We had to go out the window, we had to jump (out of) the window."

Diaz and her husband are fine, but other residents were hospitalized. The fire department said 10 people were displaced, while Diaz said six people lived in the house. The home was split into at least five separate apartments.

Arson investigators are investigating the cause of the fire, which is routine. No firefighters were injured and the Red Cross is helping those displaced.

The cold weather also hampered firefighters.

"On large fires, when it's this cold, it is a concern for us," Lt. Kyle Falkner said.

Firefighters had to try to handle the fire while not losing their balance with icy conditions. 

The name of the victim has not been released, but residents and neighbors say it is a man.

Firefighters Install Smoke Detectors

A fatal fire Friday morning on Finley Street just east of downtown also remains under investigation. Like the second floor of the fire on Monday morning, Friday morning's victim also did not have smoke detectors in his home.

The man died in the early morning blaze. His name has not been released yet by the medical examiner's office. 

In an effort to prevent further fire fatalities, Fort Worth fire crews, Local 440 and volunteers canvassed the streets around Finley on Monday morning, just five hours after the most recent fire death.

Firefighters knocked on doors and installed and checked smoke detectors for residents in need. Fire crews were joined by City Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray, who grew up in the neighborhood and knew most of the people firefighters visited. She also knows the man who died and his family.

"While we are reacting to his death, we are preventing someone else's and that goes along away," Gray said.

In total, 158 homes were visited, 44 got new detectors and 21 got new batteries.

Willie Thomas lives just two doors down and across the street from Friday's fire. Firefighters installed a new detector for him and put up his C02 detector as well.

"After I heard that house had no smoke detectors, I got up this morning and I'll get me some new ones and put them in," Thomas said. "And I'm glad the fire department came through and checked me out and bailed me out."

It's a service firefighters do all year round, but it's especially important when the weather turns cold and people try to heat themselves. Smoke detectors, firefighters say, are the best way to know there's a problem and to get to safety.

"We want to make sure everyone has their smoke alarms. You can't just assume that it's not going to happen to you," firefighter Kyle Clay said.

There were nearly a dozen fire related deaths in 2014.

NBC 5's Jeff Smith contributed to this report.

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