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Preventing House Fires

Preventing House Fires

By Deandra Corinthios. CREATED Oct 7, 2012

DE PERE, WI--The colder weather over the weekend can increase the risk of a house fire, and this week is fire prevention week. Firefighters across the country and here in northeast Wisconsin want you to know how to stay safe this fall and winter.

Firefighters say the fall season, just as we hit the first cold snap, is when their fire calls pick up. But you can protect your family by checking on your furnace, fireplace, and by having an escape plan.

A fire recently tore through a de Pere garage, and property owner Jack LeDuc lost precious memories in the flames.

"I had all my family records and photos there. Much of that burnt," said LeDuc.

The scorched building is a reminder to be cautious this time of year. Many of us are cranking on the heat and firefighters say the furnace is a common fire danger. Don't turn it on without a maintenance check.

"Through the season there can be insects and birds nests and those types of things that can occur through the exhaust system and that can raise the potential for a fire," said Captain Alan Matzke with the De Pere Fire Department.

Wood burning fireplaces are another fire hazard when a chemical called creosote builds up.

"Our biggest incidents that we see with fireplaces are chimney fires, usually resulting from lack of maintenance," said Matzke.

If you use a space heater, keep it away from furniture, and check carbon monoxide detectors. And aways have an escape plan.

"Find a safe meeting place where everyone can gather and call for help," said Matzke.

LeDuc knows he's lucky his dog Angel wasn't trapped inside. "

As long as people, or your dogs or cats aren't injured or killed, that is number one," said LeDuc.

 For fire prevention week, many local fire departments are visiting elementary schools and teaching kids about the basics of fire safety.