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Two Women Escape Duplex Fire

***UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2 P.M.***Investigators from the Columbia Fire Department say materials placed too close to a portable space heater. The fire caused $150,000 in damages.Fire officials advise owners of space heaters to follow safety guidelines, including:- Look for a safety-certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, the ETL label from Intertek, or certification from CSA International.- Check the power cord for cracks, fraying, loose connections, and broken plugs; repair or replace the heater if you find any damage. Most manufacturers recommend against using extension cords.- Keep children, pets, and flammable items at least 3 feet from the heater.- Don’t use heaters on uneven surfaces, near foot traffic, or in children’s rooms.- Never leave a heater on unattended or while you’re sleeping.***UPDATE 8:00 P.M.***The two women who got out of their burning duplex just in the nick of time are staying with family Saturday night. A woman in her 70s who can barely walk escaped with her daughter safely, Dorothy Hayes told ABC 17 News it was not her time to go yet. She heard “boom, boom” sounds followed by black smoke and she said to her daughter, “Common Gayle, we’re going, we’re getting up out of here. I’m not going to stay here and get ‘blown’ and I want to thank the good lord for looking out for me.” A neighbor took her in along with her eldest daughter, Gayle, when firefighters continued checking for hot spots after putting out the fire Saturday morning.The pair are staying with family tonight, but most of their items are not salvageable. “Everything is no good any more,” said Hayes while shaking her head and wrapped in a blanket. It was a chilly Saturday and the Red Cross of Mid-Missouri is helping the pair with some money for food and putting them up for two-nights stay at a motel. One of Hayes daughter, Damita Cason, said the disabled pair really need all the help they can get. If you would like to donate clothes or help the Hayes family, you can reach them by calling Damita Cason at (573) 777-4612. ***UPDATE 1:05 P.M.***Columbia fire said in a news release Saturday afternoon that the cause of this morning’s duplex fire remains under investigation. Damages are estimated at $150,000.ABC 17 News also spoke to two people who were inside the apartment when the fire broke out. They described heavy black smoke. First responders also described a similar scene.According to the news release, a neighbor called in the fire Saturday morning. Crews had the fire under control in 13 minutes and managed to keep it contained to one duplex unit. They remained on scene for more than an hour, clearing burnt drywall and checking for hot spots.***ORIGINAL STORY***Columbia fire crews have put out a fire at a duplex apartment in the 4500 block of Orchard Lane Saturday afternoon.According to dispatch, the call first went out around 10:38 a.m. for the structure on fire.ABC 17 News has a crew at the scene as well, gathering information. They report the duplex was still smoldering at noon, and crews still had four trucks and an ambulance at the scene.We’re still working to gather details on how the fire may have started and on the safety of the residents.Stay with ABC 17 News and for more updates as they become available.

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