Wilmette, News

Heated blanket is expected cause of Wilmette house fire, fire chief says

Nearby village shares prevention tips during months of increased risk of fires

A residential fire that was contained to one room on Sunday, Feb. 14, in Wilmette was reportedly caused by a heated blanket.

The fire was reported at 11:04 a.m. in the 1000 block of Timber Lane, where heavy gray smoke was visible from the front windows of the single-family residence, according to Rob Brill, Wilmette’s acting fire chief.

The home was reportedly evacuated of five occupants before fire and police personnel arrived on the scene.

“The occupants told police officers they saw an electric blanket, located on a sofa in the front sitting room, engulfed in fire,” Brill told The Record in an email.

Firefighters encountered heavy, dark smoke as they entered the residence and extinguished the fire in the front room where it was contained; however, it resulted in smoke damage throughout the home.

“The Wilmette Fire Department conducted a cause and origin investigation; it was determined the origin of the fire was in the front sitting room in the area of the sofa as indicated by the occupants,” Brill said. “The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.”

The limited damage and fire spread was because the residents closed the door of the room where the fire occurred and the front door before exiting, Brill added.

In nearby Glencoe, the Village recently published a webpage about “Putting a Freeze to Winter Fires,” and stated home fires occur more in winter than in any other season.

Eighty-six percent of all home-heating fire deaths involve portable space heaters, the webpage also states.

Fire prevention tips the Village of Glencoe shared include:

• Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. 

• Make an escape plan. Households with children should consider making a map of your home to show ways of getting outside.

• Do not leave space heaters unattended and keep away from flammable materials.

• Clean the lint out of your dryer after every cycle.

• Do not leave a burning candle unattended.

• Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.

megan bernard
Megan Bernard

Megan Bernard is a co-founder and the managing editor who directs day-to-day journalism of The Record. Megan enjoys writing about restaurants, entertainment and education and is an established human-interest reporter.

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