Winter fire safety tips from local authoritiesFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With these frigid temperatures, keeping a warm home is a top priority for most families. But a simple mistake could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
With these frigid temperatures, keeping a warm home is a top priority for most families. But a simple mistake could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Heating related fires are the third leading cause of residential fires in Minnesota. Sixty-eight percent of those fires occurred in the chimney or fireplace area, something used a lot on cold days like this. Now fire officials have a few reminders after some bizarre incidents over recent years.
Rich Duysen – Interim Moorhead Fire Chief: “We've had people that put charcoal to heat up their home in there stoves, leaving your stove open to heat, it's not a heating device, it's a cooking device.”
The second leading cause of fires - open flames like candles. They resulted in more than 400 fires and $9.5 million in property damages in Minnesota alone last year. Also, if you live in a mobile home park, you might have to take extra precaution.
Rich Duysen: “They go up a little faster, especially the older ones. They don't have the sheet rock, they have the paneling that’s got the varnish and the lacquer on it that burns a lot faster.”
Then there's the silent killer, carbon monoxide. Fargo Fire officials recommend you always be smart when warming your car.
Norm Scott – Fargo Fire Marshal: “Make sure you back it out of your garage; otherwise you got that buildup of carbon monoxide which can get into the house.”
Also, make sure all space heaters are at least 3 feet from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials. And if you haven't yet, if you think you have a problem with your furnace, make sure to have it checked by a professional.
Rich Duysen: “It might cost a little money up front, but it's going to save you a lot in damage and potentially your life as well.”
Of course, most important, always have a smoke detector and Carbon Monoxide alarm. 60-percent of Minnesota's fire deaths last year were in homes where smoke alarms were not present or not working.