Fire officials reminding homeowners of safety tips after several weekend house fires in Johnson County

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NEW WHITELAND, Ind.- A family loses everything in a house fire this past weekend.

“They lost all their valuables. Everything was lost in it,” said Dale Saucier, Chief of New Whiteland Fire Department.

The New Whiteland Fire Department shared video from a Ring doorbell showing heavy smoke and flames pouring out of a house on Brookside Drive. The two people inside the home escaped. Two cats and a dog didn’t make it out.

The house fire on Brookside Drive was just one of several house fires in Johnson County over the weekend. The New Whiteland Fire Department responded to two within 10 hours.

“We haven’t really hit the cold weather, the heating season as we call it,” said Chief Saucier.

Firefighters don’t believe space heaters were to blame for either of the house fires they responded to on Saturday. Although as temperatures drop, Chief Saucier is reminding everyone to be careful.

“Whenever you use space heaters keep them away from combustibles. some people may not know what a combustible is, it’s anything that can burn, basically,” said Chief Saucier.  

Chief Saucier warns against using your oven to heat your home.  Before you go to bed, ‘Close before you doze.’ Make sure you shut your bedroom room; in an emergency it could make a huge difference.

“Keep your door closed and it’s going to buy you time to get out,” said Chief Saucier.

Investigators believe the fire started towards the back of the home and was accidental.  When FOX 59/CBS 4 stopped by, the homeowner was there but wasn’t ready to talk.  He’s a Marine veteran and told us his family has lived in the home for decades and they’re overwhelmed by the support the past few days.

“This is a small community. we are less than 2 square miles, but it feels big in what people give back,” said Chief Saucier.

Within hours of the fire, the community started a collection of clothes and donations to help this family, especially this close to the holidays.

“Being a few days from thanksgiving, every thanksgiving they’re going to remember this. every thanksgiving brings a whole new meaning. they will have that in the back of their minds all the time,” said Chief Saucier.

The family needs women’s and men’s hats, gloves, scarves.  Also, a women’s winter coat in a size 2X and a men’s winter coat in a size XL. Other items and monetary donations are welcomed.  If you’re interested in helping the family, contact teril104mitch@gmail.com for more information and for drop-off locations.

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