Two small house fires in Springfield late Friday morning were likely caused by electrical issues, officials said.
Two adults and two young children escaped the first fire at 413 Gallagher St. without injury.
Hiram Christian Jr. and his children, a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old, were upstairs sleeping when the older child began screaming because of a smoke alarm going off, homeowner Hiram Christian Sr. said.
Christian Sr.’s wife, Judy, was downstairs when the smoke alarm went off.
It started at or near an upstairs bedroom electrical box about 10:50 a.m., Springfield Fire/Rescue Division Battalion Chief Randy Keifer said at the scene.
The fire was contained to the bedroom and Keifer estimated damage to be less than $5,000. The American Red Cross was on scene to assist the family.
About an hour later, Rick Hagans was on the couch at his rented home at 1906 Springmont Ave. when he heard a scratching sound behind the wall and assumed a wild animal had gotten in there, he said.
Hagans said he looked up in the attic and saw an orange glow. “I knew then that it wasn’t good,” he said.
He tried to smother the fire with a sweatshirt, he said, but quickly realized firefighters were needed. Hagans wasn’t injured.
Keifer said it likely started with a wire in a wall. He estimated damage to be about $3,000.
Keifer reminded residents of the importance of smoke alarms. He said the current building code is to have one smoke alarm on each level and one in each bedroom and reminded residents to change their batteries when the clocks change. New homes have more stringent rules.
“Smoke alarms absolutely, positively save lives,” he said.