Fire chief offers tips for holiday safety

Published 5:21 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Monday, the Troy Fire Department responded to a house fire on the 500-block of Spradley Drive.

The fire began in the kitchen area of the house. “The fire was contained to the kitchen area,” Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw said. “It petty much smoked up the whole house. We haven’t determined exactly what the cause was. We think it was either the stove or and electrical outlet.”

Troy firefighters were able to contain the blaze before much damage occurred. “There was a good bit of damage to the kitchen area,” Outlaw said. “In the rest of the house there was only smoke damage and water damage.”

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Outlaw said there was nobody home at the time of the fire.

“We had two dogs that were inside,” Outlaw said. “We were able to get oxygen to them, and they pulled through. There was a guinea pig inside that didn’t make it, though.”

While Monday’s fire was relatively minor, Outlaw said his department sees an increase in house fires during the holiday season. “We see a pickup in the number of fires caused from cooking,” Outlaw said. “There’s so much cooking that goes on the people don’t normally do. It’s important to be safe during the holiday season.”

Outlaw shared some tips to make the home safer during the holiday season. “Don’t leave stoves unattended,” Outlaw said. “That is the number one cause when we have a house fire. Normally, something boils over and starts a fire. Don’t leave anything flammable near stoves.”

Outlaw also said that space heaters can cause house fires.

“People use space heaters during this time of year,” Outlaw said. “We normally have a lot of fires caused by the space heaters. People plug the heaters in to extension cords, and the lightweight cords are not heavy enough to handle the voltage needed to run the heater.”

Outlaw advocated cleaning out the fireplace before using it this winter. “A lot of people use fireplaces to heat their homes,” Outlaw said. “It’s always best to get them cleaned before they start using them. Soot builds up in the chimney and dries out during the summer. When they build a fire in the fireplace, the soot catches on fire. When that stuff catches on fire it can be like a jet engine.”

Most importantly, Outlaw hoped for Troy’s citizens to stay safe during the holidays. “We just want everyone to be safe,” Outlaw said. “We hope that we don’t have any house fires this year.”