Two families in Paradise Valley had to seek temporary shelter after fires damaged their homes on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a Casper Fire-EMS spokesman.

"Fire crews responded to two separate house fires in Paradise Valley on consecutive days," Craig Kidder said.

The first occurred early Tuesday on Oleander, where a fire escaped the confinement of the fireplace and went into the chase -- the casing that surrounds the chimney itself -- and extended into the attic, Kidder said. "Fire crews were able to get a quick knock-down on it."

That family was at home and was able to get out safely.

The second fire occurred on nearby Daffodil street about 10 p.m. Wednesday, he said.

"The second fire was a gas fireplace that inadvertently ignited itself due to a thermostat and the blower was not going, so it escaped the confines of its fireplace and extensively damaged the house with fire and smoke," he said.

Two family pets were pulled from the scene by fire crews, Kidder said. One pet was taken to a veterinarian for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The fires remain under investigation.

Thursday afternoon, Casper Fire-EMS spokesman Dave Lundahl said in a press release that the fire on Daffodil may have caused upwards of $200,000 in damages to the contents of the house.

Kidder said both families have had burn fund checks issued to them.

They also have received help from people and organizations on social media sites, too. The Candice Stevens family has a fund started at


Casper Fire-EMS urges families to take a few minutes to look around their primary sources of heat such as central furnaces, and secondary sources of heat such as fireplaces, Kidder said.

The areas around fireplaces especially should be clear of combustible materials from three to 10 feet, he said.

Kidder urges people to make sure their chimneys and fireplaces are clean, and have the family involved.

"Take two minutes after dinner and have a home fire drill," Kidder said. "That's one of the biggest things we can stress. We do it at work, we do it at school, but we tend to forget it at home."

Use a broomstick to push the test button on a smoke detector and have two ways to exit the house, he said. "Have a safe meeting place outside the home and practice that with your kids."

In the unfortunate event a fire occurs, the family has practiced and knows what to do, Kidder said.

"At the end of the day we just want everybody to go home and be safe and we have a great holiday season coming up and we want everybody to enjoy that," he said.