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Homeowner airlifted after fire destroys AV home

Safety tips:

The need for heating during the winter season increases the danger of residential fires. Follow these tips from the Fire Department to keep houses safe as well as warm:

• Keep chimneys and wood stove tops clean

• Never use ovens to heat homes

• Keep flammable items at least three feet from heating equipment

• Extinguish candles before leaving a room or going to bed

• Make sure homes have working smoke alarms installed

Source: San Bernardino County Fire Department and Apple Valley Fire Protection District

APPLE VALLEY • Waking up early Friday morning to find her house full of smoke, an Apple Valley homeowner escaped outside only to realize her cellphone was still inside. She then smashed a window to retrieve her phone from a room and called 911.

At approximately 1:40 a.m., five fire trucks from the Apple Valley Fire Protection District responded to the scene to find the home in the 7500 block of Starlight Lane engulfed in flames, according to Division Chief Sid Hultquist.

Within 30 minutes, the firefighters were able to contain the flames and prevent the fire from spreading to a nearby travel trailer.

“The house was a total loss,” Hultquist said, explaining that the firefighters spent the rest of the morning fighting the flames.

The woman was airlifted to a nearby trauma center for treatment. She suffered smoke inhalation and burns but is expected to recover, Hultquist said

The woman was home alone at the time of the fire because her two young daughters were spending the night with relatives.

“This could have been a very significant tragedy,” Hultquist said. “Had her kids not been with a family member, she would not have been able to get them out in time.”

The house did not have a working fire detector to give an early warning of the fire, Hultquist said.

The fire is still being investigated but was most likely caused by the wood stove inside the residence, Hultquist said.

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