House fires more frequent as winter sets in

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) - Flames and smoke destroying homes and families, it's a tragedy that's played out over and over this winter.

"December and January we have an increased number of fires through out the country, in those two months," said Scott Brooks of the West Chester Fire Department.

Live Christmas trees and lights seem to be the culprit time after time.

"People not taking care of the Christmas trees the way they should, people not watering them like they should, people using overloaded circuits," Brooks said.

As for space heaters, proper distance is key to avoiding disaster.

"A good idea is to keep them about three feet away from anything else that burns," Brooks said.

And as residents crank up the heat, faulty furnaces can also spark a fire.

"If their heat exchangers are clogged with soot, or the burners are rusty, the flame can roll out of the furnace," said Roy Hauser of Hauser Air in West Chester.

Carbon Monoxide can also be a danger, that why experts at Hauser Air suggest getting your furnace tuned up twice a year and remember to clean your filter.

Experts also say it's important to clear a space around your furnace and remove any materials nearby like mops or brooms.

"People don't think and store things in front of the furnace like mops or brooms, things like that and the flame came run out the front of the furnace and catch things on fire," Hauser said.

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