House fires spike as temperatures start to drop, fire officials urge people to take precautions

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022
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As temperatures drop, the number of house fires is rising. Now, first responders are urging people to take precautions to stay safe this holiday season.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As temperatures drop, the number of house fires is rising.

Now, first responders are urging people to take precautions to stay safe this holiday season.

Over the weekend, Fresno County Fire firefighters responded to a 4,000-square-foot home on Bullard, east of Academy Ave., for a chimney fire that spread to the attic.

Sunday evening, two people were rushed to the hospital from a home at Nees and Madsen Avenues in Fresno County for burns from a fire pit.

Both victims have now been released from the hospital and are recovering.

Sunday night, flames destroyed a house on Navelencia and Edgar Avenue.

"This time of the year, we increase our structure fires, usually, and decrease a little bit in the wildland fires, but there's still is a threat in the wildland. We just kind of start to see it flip-flop a little bit," Fresno County Battalion Chief Brandon Markle said.

Batt. Chief Markle says it's important if you have a chimney that you get it professionally cleaned before you start using it.

If you're using space heaters, you need to be aware of what's around them.

"Space heaters, you know, be careful with those. Have at least a 4-6 foot radius around there. Nothing can touch it," Batt. Chief Markle said.

The Red Cross is called in to assist people who have been displaced by these fires.

Taylor Poisall, the Regional Communications Director for the Red Cross, says the numbers of incidents they've responded to have been steadily increasing over the last few months. They responded to 12 calls in September, 18 calls in October and 25 calls, so far, in November.

A total of 65 people have already been displaced in November alone.

"Across country see about 30% increase in home fires during the colder months and as we get into the holiday season we tend to see that number go up locally." Poisall said.

Red Cross officials say around the Thanksgiving holiday they tend to see more calls because of kitchen fires.

They're reminding people to keep an eye on food they're cooking, but say they will have volunteers on-call and ready to respond.

"We respond to an average of a home fire a day. It's volunteers that go out and provide comfort and immediate assistance so people have a place to go after a disaster like this." Poisall said.

As always, fire officials say it's important to check your smoke detectors and make sure they're working.

If you don't have smoke detectors, you can request free smoke detectors from the Red Cross and they'll coordinate a time with you to have someone install them.