Last updated: July 17. 2013 6:05PM - 244 Views
Ron Gregory

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Don’t Let a Cooking Fire Into Your House

Dear Editor:

On Monday, April, 1st, I lost my Dad, Jerry Dunlap, in a mobile home fire. The Fire Marshal’s investigation of the fire determined that it started in the kitchen (located in the middle of the trailer) and then rapidly spread forward engulfing the living room where my Dad was likely watching TV from his couch.

Several good-hearted neighbors tried valiantly to enter Dad’s home to rescue him, but were driven back by the intense heat and smoke.

By the time firefighters from the Madison, Danville and Spruce River (WV) Fire Departments arrived and extinguished the fire enough to enter the trailer, my Dad was already long gone from this world. Upon learning of our tragedy, my Mother and my step-father, Wilma and Bob Avsec drove to our home the next day from Alexandria, Virginia where they live.

Me and my family were extremely blessed to have them here during the time of our loss, particularly because Bob retired from the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire & EMS Department as a Battalion Chief after a 26-year career.

Because of his experience, Bob was able to help me better understand what happened on this terrible day. He walked me through my Dad’s home and explained to me exactly how he would have investigated the fire and how my Dad became one of the more than 3,000 people in the United States who die in their home from fires each year.

Bob was also able to tell me that my Dad had likely dozed off while watching TV and forgotten there was food cooking on the stove (the place where the fire started). My Dad had died from the inhalation of the smoke and toxic gases produced by the fire long before the actual flames of the fire had reached him in the living room.

I’m sharing this story with you because I don’t want another family in our area to experience the pain and sorrow that comes with losing a loved one to a fire.

So What Should You Do?

According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fact Sheet (http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/Homesfactsheet.pdf), U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 371,700 home structure fires per year during 2006-2010.

These fires caused an annual average of 2,590 civilian fire deaths, 2,910 civilian fire injuries, and $7.2 billion in direct damage (92% of all structure fire deaths resulted from home fires).

On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day during the period.

Cooking is the number-one cause of home fires. The biggest reason is that people start to cook something and forget about it. If you aren’t in the kitchen when a pan fire gets too hot, you won’t be able to turn it off before a fire starts.

Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the range, especially when frying food. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a minute, turn off the range first.

Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains, at least 3 feet away from the range top, so they won’t catch fire.

Keep children and pets away from the range at all times, especially when someone is cooking. Put a line of tape on the floor to mark 3 feet around the range. Teach children to stay away from the tape.

Before you cook, roll up your sleeves so they don’t touch a hot burner and catch on fire. • Use oven mitts to pick up hot pots, pans, and lids.

If a pan of food catches on fire, wear an oven mitt and slide a lid or a cookie sheet over the pan to cover the flames. Then turn off the burner or element. (Covering the pan cuts off the oxygen to the fire and the flames go out).

Keep the lid or cookie sheet on until the pan has completely cooled. Do not try to pick up a burning pan and move it, because you can get burned by the fire or spread the fire around the kitchen. • If the fire has spread beyond the pan, get everyone in the home and get outside to safety.

Call the fire department from outside the house or at a neighbor’s home.

PLEASE apply these tips to you, your home as well as your family and friends. Since dad is not here to get this message across to you, I will do it for him. Don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, or next month…take care of these things today because a fire will not wait for you to be ready.

Jeri Bunting

Madison, W.Va.

We paid for our Patriot Coal benefits

Dear Editor:

I was an employee of Patriot Coal and was injured on the job in 1995. I have had 5 back surgeries to try to keep my ability to walk, for that matter to do anything.

Patriot Coal in its long term disability plan garenteed that my benefits would not change, at the time of my injury I paid for a disability insurance myself that has made it possible to survive in this expensive economy. We pay for our insurance monthly which is over $500.

We have lost out vision coverage even at that high of a premium. My wife has to work to make ends meet but we are not able to afford any additional insurance .

I don’t think any one understands that the benefits that patriot coal wants to eliminate is what retires and disabled pay for .

There are only two of us to insure at my home. I can’t imagine what anyone with children can afford the premiums.

Thank you for your time and I hope you can get the message out there about this so-called cost Patriot Coal say they have when in fact we pay for it .

I was a Mine Foreman before I was injured, so I was not in the union but I was shuffled from Arch Coal to Magnum Coal to Patriot Coal.

As a disabled employee of Arch Coal , how can they get away with shuffling all the retires and especially the disabled from arch coal to Patriot and then file bankrupt when there stock and there general overall picture was the best in the whole Northeast?

Thank you,

James Harvey

Southwestern Florida

Whitesville writer has book available, wants memories for new book

Dear Editor:

As I was getting copies made of my last book I wrote, “My Hometown, Since 1949 at Whitesville, W.Va.,” my thoughts took me back to when I wrote a column for the Coal Valley News for about 20 years. Those were wonderful years, as I talked with many people in our area who gave me news to write about in the newspaper.

I am still writing, but now I am writing about memories of the past years and how things are in the area now.

The first book I wrote was about my life growing up, titled “My Years As A Child At Edwight, W.Va. for 42-and-a-half years,” when I was living with my parents, Clyde and Pauline Montgomery, the owners and operators of the restaurant, “The Coffee Pot Café.”

The second book I wrote was about my late husband, Andy Averson, Jr., who was the Chief of Police for the Town of Whitesville, W.Va., for 42-and-a-half years. The book was titled, “Juniors Childhood Years at Stickney and Whitesville, W.Va.”

The third book I wrote was about my and Junior’s years together since 1949 at Whitesville, W.Va. I have no more copies of those books for sale, but I do have copies of the fourth book I wrote, titled “My Hometown Since 1949 At Whitesville, W.Va.”

If anyone would like to have a copy of that book please let me know. The cost is $20 per copy, if picked up at my home, or $25 if mailed to your address. Everyone who has a copy of this book said they enjoyed it very much.

My telephone number is 304-854-1164, if you wish to call me about the book. My address is Rosalie Averson, P.O. Box 483, Whitesville, WV 25209.

The book has a lot of memories and pictures in it that I think you will enjoy, as others who have the book have told me they did. I hope to hear from you soon, and I hope you wish to get a copy.

I am now writing my fifth book, titled “Memories of Big Coal River, People and Places.” If you lived in or near Whitesville and have memories and pictures you would like to have in my next book, please send them to me and I will be sure to use them.

I hope many of you will send me copies of pictures of the past with your memories of days gone by. Also, if you would like to have a copy of “My Hometown Since 1949” please let me know. You may also purchase a copy of “My Hometown” at Flints Hardware Store in Sylvester, W.Va.

Rosalie Averson

P.O. Box 483

Whitesville, WV 25209

We must now depend on honesty of justice system to right this wrong

Dear Editor:

Mr. Hatfield evidently has it all figured out when it comes to the benefits of those who worked for Peabody and the “sham” which he heads up.

There is no bargaining to be done, there is only theft the Bible calls it filthy lucre.

His appeal to the coalfields is to have us believe he really cares. His ineptness, and that of others, reeks of a different case.

In fact, the ugly intent is to abet in the open robbery of honest miners who have made others rich and in the process have lost their health. Most of us obtained severe disability from our years of faithful service to the company.

We must now depend on the honesty of the justice system to right this wrong.

I feel we must not only receive what we were promised, we should be monetarily compensated for all the grief they have unrighteously brought upon us.

Oh what anguish my 83-year-old dad has suffered unfairly at the hands of these crooks. Mr. Hatfield and Peabody look into his sad eyes and tell him how moral you are. God pity your wicked souls.

What were you thinking when you rid yourself of our hard earned benefits Peabody? Well, I know, and now America knows.

Did you intend to protect us after you put our money in your bank? I don’t think so! And to sell us out and what we earned to people who had zero capability to manage our health care.

Now, pardon me for not being stupid enough to believe you ever intended to do the right thing. This sham Patriot should never have been created. The only reason it was, in my opinion, was Peabody’s need for greed. And if they do pull this off, if the court upholds their determined effort to steal (legally) what we were promised, well, I’ll still be able to lay my head down at night and my sleep will be peaceful. Because I know some truths: Judas failed, Hitler failed and Peabody failed.

To be moral, and now win or lose, they will always be associated with the most evil, betraying people ever known to man. Live it up Peabody, but remember Sundays coming. The Lord will make all wrongs right in His time.

Terry Newsome

Madison, W.Va.

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