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Local fire departments offer safety tips

Local fire departments are offering tips on staying safe during the winter storm.

Lance Billeaud, fire chief/ emergency management coordinator for the City of Groves, said Entergy’s rolling blackouts may last six-eight hours at certain locations.

“If you lose power, turn off your heater and unplug any nonessential electrical appliances,” he said. “This can cause a surge in the system once power is restored and that could result in a power outage to just your area.

“Those smaller outages will be longer than 6-8 hours to fix because line crews will need to be sent out to restore power. If you do have power, please conserve electricity by unplugging nonessential appliances, do not use a dishwasher, wash and dry clothes as little as possible, and turn heaters down below 70 degrees. This will help Entergy conserve the power they are required to conserve during this extreme weather event. Please understand that Entergy is working hard to take care of everyone.”

The Groves Fire Department hadn’t had any fire calls as of 11 a.m. Tuesday but responded to regular medical calls as well as a lot of calls for people slipping on the ice, he said.

Port Arthur Fire Battalion Chief Patrick Murphy said they responded to a house fire at 9:14 a.m. Monday morning in the 300 block of West Gulfway Drive.

The fire likely occurred when an individual was trying to light a fireplace, using lighter fluid and it got away from him.

The individual suffered a burn to his hand and was treated by EMS.

The fire impacted one room of the home and smoked the house up, Murphy said.

And while the fire department typically responds to fires, vehicular crashes and things of this manner, they can go beyond regular duties to help those in need.

Murphy said they had received calls of pipes breaking for sprinkler systems and responded to turn the water off for the resident. While this is not in their scope of duty, they are a public service organization. The individuals who called are older folks who likely cannot turn the water off themselves, he said.