November 11, 2012

Fire marshal issues wood stove safety reminder after Augusta injuries

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas today issued  a warning about the proper use of wood stoves a day after an Augusta man suffered serious burns in a fire on Civic Center Drive.

Michael O'Leary, 38, tried to use gasoline to start his wood stove inside the porch of his home Saturday morning, Maine State Police said in a statement. He is being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland for serious burns and his wife, 36-year-old Amanda O'Leary, was treated and released from MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta for smoke inhalation. The family dog died in the fire.

"Homeowners should never use a flammable liquid to start a wood stove fire because the vapors are explosive and cause a fireball," Thomas said. "Only paper and kindling should be used to start a wood stove."

Firefighters from several departments responded to the fire, which was called in around 9 a.m. Saturday. The ranch-style home, which is in Augusta near the Belgrade line, sustained heavy smoke and heat damage, according to state police.

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