CKFR responded to increased number of house fires this winter

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue firefighters kept busy this winter.

CKFR crews responded to more than triple the number of house fires from January to April of this year as compared to last year, according to CKFR spokeswoman Theresa MacLennan. Firefighters extinguished 21 fires this year and only attended to six in 2007.

“It’s so strange to have the six calls last year and 21 this year,” MacLennan said.

MacLennan said all of the blazes started as a result of various things ranging from lint build-up in a dryer, candles and improperly disposed of smoking materials.

“Unfortunately there’s no one specific cause of the fires and that’s why we encourage people to have working smoke alarms,” MacLennan said.

Thirteen of this year’s fires started as a result of radiated heat from operation equipment and electrical arcing, according to MacLennan, and the bedroom and kitchen were the most common areas for fires to occur.

Nationally, improperly disposed of smoking materials is the No. 1 cause of preventable home fire deaths. MacLennan said people should soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away and hot cigarette butts should never be tossed in the trash or plastic containers.

MacLennan said all homes should have working smoke alarms on every level and families should have a practiced fire escape plan in place should a fire occur. People should plan and practice at least two ways to escape from every room in a home, MacLennan said.

CKFR also will perform home safety surveys. Fire officials will inspect a home for safety hazards to help people prevent fires or be prepared if one does happen to occur.

“We’ll walk through their house and see what might be able to enhance the safety of their home,” MacLennan said.

People interested in setting up a home safety survey can call CKFR Headquarters at (360) 447-3550.

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