NORMAN — An early morning fire destroyed one duplex, badly damaged its partner home and spread to another pair of duplexes at 3102, 3104, 3106 and 3108 Ridgecrest Court.
The fire apparently originated in the duplexes at 3106 and 3108, which are unoccupied right now, according to Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey.
The Norman Fire Department responded at 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
“Apparently nobody was home,” Bailey said. “I think 3106 and 3108 are vacant and 3102 and 3104 are occupied but nobody was home.”
Bailey said “3106 is pretty thoroughly burnt up. The garage is left, but the living area is gone.”
Preliminary damage estimates are $250,000 total for both buildings — $200,000 for structures and $50,000 for contents.
“The structure to the north, 3102 and 3104, both are occupied, and that’s where the contents loss came from,” Bailey said.
The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.
Bailey said people should follow precautions to avoid winter weather fires.
“Make sure your smoke detectors operate and have working batteries in them,” Bailey said. “Check the age of your smoke detectors. If they’re over 10 years old, they need to be replaced. Even if you push the button and it makes a sound, all that tells you is that the battery works.”
If someone cannot afford a smoke detector and is elderly or on public assistance, they can call the fire department for assistance through a special smoke detector program.
“We don’t provide smoke detectors for rental property,” Bailey said, adding that the landlord is responsible for providing them.
Anyone using natural gas appliances — including hot water tanks, stoves, gas-powered fire places or heaters — should also purchase and install a carbon monoxide or CO detector. Those can be purchased at Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot or most hardware stores.
“Be cautious when using space heaters and follow the instructions provided with the space heater,” Bailey said. “Keep them three feet away from any combustible materials.”
Chimneys should be cleaned annually and fire screens used in front of fireplace fires.