Heat lamp starts fire at Tarkington home

Firefighters from Tarkington, Cleveland, North Liberty County and South Polk County fire departments battled a fire Wednesday morning on CR 2518 in Tarkington.

An unattended heat lamp is being blamed for starting a fire Wednesday morning, Dec. 5, in a garage of a home on FM 2518 at CR 2211, according to Tarkington Fire Chief Paul Gregory.

The fire was reported to authorities around 9 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found a garage fully engulfed in flames.

“The homeowner had a heat lamp on some baby chicks. By the time they saw the fire, it was too late to save the chicks,” Gregory said.

This is the second heat lamp-related fire Tarkington firefighters have fought this year, the chief said. Earlier this year, they were called to a home where a heat lamp keeping puppies warm fell, igniting the back porch.

“Luckily the guy woke up in time to save his house,” Gregory said. “Last year we had a guy who burned down his barn and killed his horses trying to keep puppies warm with a heat lamp.”

Gregory warns against using heat lamps for animals.

“Don’t use heat lamps. Animals will always knock them down. Every year we respond to fires that are caused by heat lamps that people are using to keep animals warm,” he said.

He suggested that residents look for different bedding options for animals that must be left outdoors during the cold, wintry months.

“If you are keeping chicks, put them in a brooder away from the house. When they start getting bigger, put them in a metal water trough that has hay on the bottom and then put a light on them, but do it away from the house,” Gregory said. “Do it in a shed or barn that won’t spread the fire to your house.”

Firefighters from Tarkington, Cleveland, North Liberty County and South Polk County responded to the blaze Wednesday. The attached photo was taken and shared by Cleveland firefighters.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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