Experts suggest an annual house inspection to help prevent fires

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Joseph Kresyman recently moved in with his parents on Hickory Avenue in Panama City.

He said he was doing his regular routine Monday morning when suddenly things took a bad turn.

“I was doing some work in my room and left the closet light on, and there was an electrical short in the room that set the house on fire,” Kresyman said.

Kresyman said within five minutes the whole house went up in flames. He said his family lost everything, but he’s thankful they all made it out safely.

Panama City Police Department responded to a similar call on Magnolia Avenue Friday night.

“It’s believed that they were using a little, some source of fire to keep the bugs away, some smoke, and it just accidentally caught the house on fire,” PCPD Lieutenant Howard Demro said.

While structure fires are mostly random, Lieutenant Demro said they start getting a lot of calls this time of year.

“We start getting some weather changes, people are going to start turning their heaters on. They’re going to smell some funny stuff and they’ll be calling us out,” Demro said. “But this is also the time of year people are using fires to stay warm and they’re also using space heaters.”

Demro uses the rhyme “three feet from the heat.”

While using a heat source, it’s important to keep houses and other flammable objects at least three feet away to avoid catching fire.

James Martinez owns Florida Cooling Cooperation and said there are a few more things to look out for.

“Since the Hurricane, we’ve had a lot of subpar equipment installs by non-licensed contracting and I’ve seen the wrong wire size hooked up to a unit, furnaces, I’ve seen units switched out and not upgraded to code,” Martinez said.

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