WHARNCLIFFE – A woman is dead after a fire consumed a mobile home at Ben Creek in the Gilbert area.
Nila Hatfield, 80, of Wharncliffe, died in the fatal fire that led police and fire departments to tape off the roadway in front of the mobile home on Friday.
At approximately 3:00 p.m., Southern EMS arrived to the scene followed by Elite Care EMS and STAT EMS. The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department also arrived to the scene and was assisted by Gilbert Police Department.
The blaze also led to multiple volunteer fire departments to respond to the scene including Wharncliffe Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD), Baisden Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) and Gilbert Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD). The West Virginia Fire Marshall also arrived on the scene.
The West Virginia Fire Marshall reported on Friday that the cause of the fire was undetermined at this time.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), 905 people die in winter home fires each year while 2,091,000,000 dollars in property loss occurs from the same type of fires. According to the same report, the National Fire Incident Reporting System 2009-2011, 74 percent of winter fires occur in one and two family homes and the second leading cause of all winter home fires is heating the home.
The USFA offers many tips for staying warm and safe during the winter season such as keeping anything that can burn, bedding, curtains or clothing at least three feet away from a space heater. Do not burn paper in a home fire place and the importance of putting a fire out before the family goes to sleep at night.
According to the USFA, it is also important to have your furnace inspected each year and to make sure any kerosene heater has an automatic shut-off to ensure that if it tips over, it will turn off.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also suggests never using an oven to heat your home and to test smoke alarms monthly to ensure that they are working properly.
(Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. Madalin can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 304-664-8225.)