Woman who lost home in fire warns of electrical dangers

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - A St. Louis woman who recently lost everything in a house fire is sharing her story in hopes of saving others from experiencing her same loss.

Kimberle Jones says she was using an electric fire starter to heat her water tank on January 18 when the fire started at her home on Roslan Place.

"Never in a million years, I'd seen this coming" she said. "Never, never, never".

Jones says she knew her water heater needed to be serviced, but in the interim used an electric fire starter to try to heat the tank.  The fire ripped through her basement, charring everything there and causing heavy smoke damage through the rest of the home.

"I stay up half the night just thinking about what could have- what I could have done to prevent it- and I'm angry at some points I go through moments of anger, I cry all the time.  It's just devastating" she said.

Now she's sharing her mistake so that others know not to do the same.

"If I could just tell anybody, please please please do not use that as a source of heating your hot water tank" she said.

Captain Richard Daus with the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District says when it comes to home appliances, furnaces or electronics, it's important to always consult with officials or professionals.

"If you try to venture into figuring out what's wrong with the appliance or your furnace you could be setting yourself up for some big problems" Daus said.

Struggling to pick up the pieces, Jones is hopeful her story can serve as a real-life example to others.

"You see this kind of stuff on the news all of the time but you just never ever can get ready for something like this" she said.