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      Winter weather brings new fire hazards

      The Amarillo Fire Department responded to two calls on Tuesday.

      The first was in the 700 block of S. Birmingham Street.

      The second was at an apartment in the 4500 block of S. Virginia Street.

      Each of the fires left one person dead and several families displaced from their homes.

      The Red Cross provided mental health counseling and housing for those affected by the fires.

      "I ask people to imagine, you wake up, you go to work. Probably have a nice breakfast and then you know, you get a call in the middle of the day that says 'hey, your house just burned down' and you have literally lost everything," said Steve Pair with the Red Cross.

      Pair said the Red Cross plays a crucial role in providing assistance to those who have been affected by tragedies.

      Cpt. Jacob Oehlert with the Amarillo Fire Department said the first fire was related to the floor furnace areas of the house.

      With cold weather approaching, Oehlert said people need to more aware and careful when using appliances and extra heating devices, such as space heaters.

      "You want to make sure you have one that shuts off if it tips over, has all of the safety factors built into them. You don't want to pile anything within three feet of it, especially any combustibles such as clothes," Oehlert said.

      Working smoke detectors are important, but Oehlert said carbon monoxide detectors are crucial.

      Both should be checked every month and batteries should be replaced twice a year.

      "You look past the dangers because you've never had any problems before and that's when problems start happening. You want to make sure you're always aware of the dangers," Oehlert said.