GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said there's still only speculation as to what might have caused a deadly apartment fire that killed nine people in Starkville. But there are some basic things he would look for when investigating a fire, or helping to prevent one.
"Some of things we look for this time of year is the heating," Sullivan said. "How are they heating the apartment? When was the last time the heating units were checked? If you have a large number of people like they did in this situation, were they using supplemental heating like the space heaters you bring in?"
The chief believes the key to saving lives is taking a multi-layered approach to fire safety.
"We have found that you have very few fatal fires when you have a sprinkler system in the apartment, an early warning device like the smoke alarms, a fire extinguisher and a good fire prevention program for apartment residents," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said candles are another danger this time of year. He warns to never leave burning candles unattended. He suggests using scented lights, which look just like candles.
"Each and every one of us is responsible for our own safety and learning good fire tips and good fire prevention," Sullivan said.
The chief said you can always contact your local fire department about a safety prevention session or getting more fire prevention information.