Fires in vacant buildings, other hazards will start to increase

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Dustin Steward
Dustin Steward
Story by: Janai Norman
Updated: 10/24/2013 11:48 am Published: 10/24/2013 11:45 am

An early morning fire in a vacant North Tulsa store is a reminder cold weather is approaching.

Around 4:30 Thursday morning fire crews responded to a small fire inside a vacant Piggly Wiggly store near Admiral and Harvard.

On the scene crews say they had trouble getting inside the boarded up building, but once inside they found thick, black smoke and a homeless man.

That man, Dustin Steward was pulled out to safety where EMSA treated him for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters interviewed him about his involvement and determined he started the fire to keep warm. They say he got into the building from a hole in the roof. He was also found with stolen copper, and tried to run away from police officers.

Steward is booked in the Tulsa County Jail on complaints of second degree arson, burglary and assault on a police officer.

Fire officials say these types of fires and other hazards will begin increasing as the temperatures continues to decrease.

Stan May with the Tulsa Fire Department says hazards to watch out for in your own home include fireplaces and furnaces.

“They are going to become a big issue this weekend.”

Those and other appliances, like space heaters, need to be three to six feet from anything that could ignite. Along with fires in vacant buildings, that’s an increase May says fire crews always see.

“We see very few of those coming into this time of year,” May began. “But now we’ll see dozens over this weekend, the first cold snap of the season.”

And there’s the concern for carbon monoxide FOX23 uncovered also spikes as the temperature drops.

“That’s an issue that sneaks up on you. You can’t smell it; you start feeling ill, if you don’t get out of the building in time, it’s a serious situation.”

May says it’s almost time to change the clocks, and that’s always a good reminder to check and change smoke detector batteries as well as batteries in carbon monoxide detectors.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 10/24/2013 5:23 PM
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Careless idiot. Lucky to be alive.
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