CONWAY — A fire caused by a battery failure has displaced the family of a deputy Conway fire chief. A GoFundMe page has been established.
At about 5:36 p.m. Thursday, Conway Fire Department received a call on its business line reporting a fire at 384 West Side Road.
“Conway Fire responded immediately and found a fire in a second-floor bedroom,” said Chief Steve Solomon in a press release. “The fire was quickly knocked down, confining flame damage to that room only.”
However, smoke and heat damage to the second floor made the home “unlivable” until it’s repaired.
Solomon said the fire displaced one of Conway Fire’s deputy chiefs, Phil Richardson, and his family, and they will be seeking housing “at least until repairs can be made.”
Solomon provided a link to the GoFundMe page: tinyurl.com/y5nl37sp.
“On July 30, 2020, Phil Richardson, Cindy Gavett, and their four boys experienced an unimaginable terror ... a house fire,” states the page created by Abigail Richardson and Tyler Richardson. “Fortunately, everybody is safe as the fire was contained to one area of the house, but the family has lost most of their belongings, including clothes, beds, toiletries, toys etc., to the fire or smoke damage.
“Due to the condition of the house, they will need assistance finding and funding a temporary home.”
The GoFundMe page says that Phil Richardson has served the community by protecting people from “similar tragedies” for over 30 years.
The cause of the fire was failure of a lithium battery being charged in the bedroom.
“LiPo and Li-ion battery failures are very common and nationally speaking have caused thousands of fires,” said Solomon. “This particular battery was brand new, had literally been purchased and plugged into the charger an hour before the fire. It was for an airsoft gun.
“The manufacturers of Li-ion and LiPo batteries recommend use of a ‘charging bag’, which is a fireproof bag, and being present while the battery is charging so that you can respond quickly if there is a problem,” he said.