As temperatures drop, the risk of house fires increases, and Middle Tennessee fire officials are urging homeowners to take steps to protect their families.
There have been four fatal house fires in Middle Tennessee in the last week. Last Tuesday, one person was killed in an apartment fire in Dickson. On Friday, three people died when a mobile home in Madison went up in flames. Sunday, three people died in a mobile home fire in Smithville. Monday, a 73-year-old man died in a mobile home fire in Watertown.
Brentwood fire chief Brian Goss said house fires are often tied to the holiday season. He said candles left unattended often cause fires, and also recommended people inspect the cords of all Christmas lights before using them.
Goss also recommended homeowners install and test smoke alarms, and get their heating systems checked on an annual basis.
“It’s good to get a certified heating and cooling person to check your heating system,” said Goss. “Same thing with fireplaces. A chimney sweep can check your chimney to make sure you don’t have build up.”
Goss said people often use gas fired heaters that aren’t designed to be operated in a closed environment. Space heaters should always be placed three feet from anything that can burn like curtains, bedding or furniture.
If a fire does start, Goss said to get out of the house as quickly as possible.
“Do not go back into the house to get personal items,” said Goss. “Once you are out, stay out and call 911.”