Decatur County Fatal Fire Caused By Space Heater


ATLANTA – Around 8:40 A.M on the morning of November 18, the Decatur County Fire Department
responded to a residential fire located at 156 Simmons-McIntyre Road in Attapulgus, Georgia. When
emergency personnel made their way inside the home, they discovered the body of Bobby Simmons, 68, of  Attapulgus.

“The investigation revealed that the fire was started by a space heater, which would make this the third death in less than one week caused by these devices,” said Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “Please remember to be very careful when using space heaters this winter. Though they can provide temporary
comfort, when not used properly they can be extremely dangerous.”

The 50-year-old mobile home suffered extensive damage from the blaze. No smoke detectors were found in the home. The body of the deceased was transported by the Decatur County Coroner’s Office to the GBI Crime Lab in Macon, where an autopsy report is to be conducted.

Investigators with the Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office are assisting the Decatur County Fire Department and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office with this investigation.
In 2019, Georgia fires have claimed the lives of 78 individuals.


ATLANTA – With below freezing temperatures expected in parts of Georgia this week, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King has several important home heating safety tips for Georgia consumers to ensure they are protecting their families and belongings while staying warm.

“Temperatures are expected to fall into the mid-twenties across the state this week, which will spark an uptick in purchases of home heating equipment,” Commissioner King said. “It is important to keep safety in mind if you are planning on purchasing or activating a space heater or other heating equipment for your home.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. residential fires and the third-leading cause of residential fire deaths. 53% of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to flammable items.

Commissioner King offers the following space heater tips to ensure safety while staying warm:

 Space heaters should always be kept away from anything that is flammable and should never be
plugged into an electrical strip.

 Heaters need to have proper ventilation and it is very important to follow the manufacturer’s
instructions when using these products.

 When using a kerosene space heater, make sure it has an automatic shut-off switch in case it
happens to fall over.

 Do not use gasoline in a space heater as it can result in an explosion. Only k-1 kerosene should
be used.

 Heaters should never be refueled when they are still hot. Make sure you take the heater outside
after it has cooled before refueling.

 Kids should never be allowed within three feet of any space heater, fireplace, or wood-burning

 Consumers should have their home heating unit checked annually to be sure it is working safely
and efficiently. If there is a suspected gas leak, it is essential that you leave the home immediately and make the call to the gas company from a different location.

 Every household should have a well-rehearsed escape plan. All rooms in the home should have
two escape routes in case of emergency. There should also be a designated meeting place
outside the home so everyone can be sure they made it out safely (end of the street, other side of
the cul-de-sac, neighbor’s house, etc.).

 Georgia law requires a smoke alarm in every home. However, it is recommended to have one on
every floor, specifically right outside bedrooms. Changing the batteries in these alarms should
be done twice a year. Testing the alarms should be done monthly

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