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Northwest Winter Weather
Means Power Outages
When the next storm hits don't make this mistake or your house may burn down

November 14, 2017

File photo, residential fire.
By Rex D. Cain

(REGIONAL) -- The thing about weather here in the northwest is that you can always count on three things during the winter: rain - god awful amounts of rain, enough to depress Tony Robbins on his best day - along with wind and power outages.

The closer you live to the mountains or the coastline, the more outages you may, no make that will experience. It's the nature of the beast.

In fact power outages from Monday's big storm that hit the state left large chunks of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood in the dark, along with other outages elsewhere.

Turns out a lot of Capitol Hill restaurants and nightclubs were without power as well so if you left your cold, dark crib in search of heat, light, a good steak and some booze, you were most likely out of luck.

Seattle City Light said crews would work through the night but even still it could take into sometime Tuesday for everyone to get the go-juice back on.

The storm also caused one death and injuries to a handful of other people. The fatality occurred in Renton where a tree fell on a car with two women and a small child inside. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The front seat passenger was critically injured. The girl in the back sustained minor injuries.

Sometimes those winter power outages occur right when you're making dinner on the stove in the kitchen. You may have two or three burners going cooking this item, warming that item, etc.

Then the power goes out. It's winter, remember. And therein lies the hidden danger. A serious as a heart attack danger.

The Kirkland Fire Department pointed this danger out recently in a statement and it is something every homeowner should know.

The house fires, moments apart

On Wednesday, November 8th Kirkland firefighters, assisted by crews from Woodinville, Bothell, and Redmond responded to and extinguished two house fires within forty minutes of each other.

Luckily there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. Later the fire department figured out that, "A unique set of circumstances are linked to the cause of both fires," according to the KFD statement.

The fist blaze: At 7:32 pm Wed. November 8, firefighters were dispatched to reports of smoke and flames from a single family home in the 14100 block of 123rd Avenue NE in Kirkland. Firefighters arrived within 5 minutes to find flames from the second floor of the home. All occupants had safely evacuated by the time firefighters arrived, and the fire was quickly knocked down.

Blaze number two: less than 40 minutes later, firefighters were dispatched to a second house fire in the 150 block of 117th Place NE in Kirkland, about one mile from the first fire.

First arriving crews from the Bothell Fire Department were soon joined by crews from Kirkland, Woodinville, Bellevue, and Redmond, some of whom had just finished up at the first fire.

"The large flames at this incident forced crews out of the building before a large volume of water was used from the exterior. Firefighters eventually reentered the structure to extinguish remaining hotspots. There were no injuries to civilians," according to the statement.

And the thing that both fires had in common? At about 5 pm that night both homes experienced a power outage.

What happened after the power went out

When that outage hit, the folks in both homes were making dinner on their stove tops in the kitchen.

So then, after making preparations to deal with the loss of power, the folks in both houses left their homes without properly turning off the stove tops

So when the power came back on, so too did the stove top burners. Home owners in both cases returned to find their homes engulfed in fire.

"The Kirkland Fire Department would like to remind all residents to always check their stove tops when they experience a power outage. When the electricity comes back on, burners left on will ignite any combustibles left on the stove," said the KFD statement.

Enough said.



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