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State fire marshal warns of house fires ahead of first cold snap

Temperatures are dipping down into the 30s this weekend, meaning many Alabamians will light up...
Temperatures are dipping down into the 30s this weekend, meaning many Alabamians will light up their fireplaces. Fire officials urge you to do so safely.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 8:35 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Temperatures are dipping down into the 30s this weekend, meaning many Alabamians will light up their fireplaces. Fire officials urge you to do so safely.

“When the time to act arrives, the time to prepare has passed,” Alabama State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen said.

He wants the public to remember how common house fires are this time of year – but he believes most are preventable.

Pilgreen recommends people have their fireplaces inspected annually to prevent buildup within chimneys.

People should also use the proper materials to ignite their fire, such as starter sticks, logs and kindling.

“Do not use gasoline, charcoal starter, kerosene, things of that nature, because that can cause a lot of problems,” Pilgreen said, adding that fireplaces are not the only concern.

Before you turn on your home’s heating system, the state fire marshal recommends people have it serviced to make sure everything is safe. This goes for electric and gas models.

“My house is all electric for instance,” he said. “You will not have open flame in that heating and air system.”

While gas units rely on an open flame to keep homes warm, both models can lead to a fire if not properly maintained.

Fire experts believe it is always best to be prepared.

“It’s using good common sense,” Pilgreen said. “If they do that, and follow, you know, the recommended directions from the manufacturer of whatever it is, then, you know, most cases, everybody should be fine.”

Pilgreen added that people should not open the door of their oven to heat their home.

Space heaters should be at least three feet away from flammable items. They should be plugged directly into the wall, rather than through an extension cord.

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