IOWA — Seven people have now lost their lives to house fires in the last three days in Iowa as the state struggles through a stretch of frigid temperatures. That includes two fatal fires in the last two days in eastern Iowa and a fire that claimed the lives of four young siblings in Mason City.
Early Friday morning, one person was killed in a house fire in the small town of Onslow, Iowa – according to KCRG. Multiple people were injured in the fire as well. Onslow is a town of just 200 residents in Jones County. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
On Thursday morning, two people died in a fire in the basement of a home in Cedar Rapids. Firefighters were called to the home in the 3800 block of Pine Tree Drive after someone reported seeing the home filling with smoke. Charles Osterkamp, 72, and Sheri Osterkamp, 70, were declared dead at the scene of the fire. The cause of that fire is also still under investigation.
Those two fires come on the heels of the fire on Wednesday in Mason City that claimed the lives of four children. John Michael Mcluer, 12; Odin Thor Mcluer, 10; Drako Mcluer, 6; and Phenix Mcluer, 3, were killed in the fire. John Michael Mcluer, 55, and Ravan Dawn Mcluer, 11, both made it out of the house. Authorities say the fire started with an electric power strip on the first floor of the home.
Power strips and extension cords can easily become fire hazards if they are overloaded with too many devices or devices that use too much power. A guide to power strip safety from MidAmerican Energy includes this reminder: “Only use power strips for low-voltage electronics. Overloading a power strip can create a fire hazard.” They also warn that if a power strip is hot to the touch, it should be unplugged immediately.
The Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office offers numerous tips, suggestions and rules to follow to keep your family safe from fire – especially while you sleep.