The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 3, 2013

Cooking fires are focus of National Fire Prevention Week

That pan of chicken, ham or catfish you just left frying on the stove — for only a minute — is the leading cause of home fires in the nation.

With National Fire Prevention Week upon us next week — Oct. 6-12 — residents in Athens and Limestone County should know where home fires are most likely to occur and how to prevent them.

In 2011, fire departments nationwide responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths and $6.9 billion in direct damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

On average, seven people die in home fires per day in the United States, according to the NFPA.

The theme of this year’s fire protection week is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” Cooking is the

leading cause of home fires and home-fire injuries, followed by heating equipment, according to the NFPA.

In 2011 and 2012 in Athens, there were two major fires caused by food left on stoves. One was an apartment fire and one a house fire.

Also, as potential cold weather looms in November, Owens Fire Chief Gary Lovell reminds Limestone County residents to check their smoke detectors and change batteries. Or, if they don’t have smoke detectors, they should buy them.

Lovell reminds residents to use care with space heaters by keeping them away from furniture, clothing and other combustibles, and to unplug them when not in use. He also reminds residents to use care with natural gas fireplaces and heaters, and propane heaters, which can produce deadly carbon-monoxide gas.

Owens Fire Department responded to a call this week from a woman who felt nauseous and believed the carbon monoxide might be the cause.

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