Blaze causes $50,000 in damage to Sumter home

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A family of five, including three children, is safe after a fire damaged their house southeast of downtown Sumter on Friday morning.

Sumter Fire Department responded to the blaze on Omarest Drive off Plowden Mill Road just before 7:15 a.m. on Friday, according to a fire department incident report.

The owner told firefighters she saw fire "coming out of the electric heater, so she got her children out of the structure and called 911," the report said.

After beginning in a bedroom, the blaze spread to the living room and kitchen, according to the report, causing an estimated $50,000 in structural loss and damage to contents in the home. Only an estimated $500 was reported saved in the report.

American Red Cross disaster-trained volunteers are helping the family by providing financial assistance for food, clothing, other essentials and comfort kits with personal hygiene items, according to the agency.

"Each year around the holidays, the Red Cross and partners see an uptick in the number of home fires," according to an agency news release.

Though it is not thought to be a cause of this house fire, the Red Cross noted Christmas tree fires are more likely to be deadly than "most other fires, and candle fires are four times as likely to occur."

"When cooking and decorating this holiday season, the Red Cross is reminding families to check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home," the agency said. "Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day."

To help those affected by disasters around the world and at home, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.