Fire deaths increase across Alabama during cold weather - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Fire deaths increase across Alabama during cold weather

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Northport Fire and Rescue Department Northport Fire and Rescue Department
NORTHPORT, AL - With the recent cold snap we've had, people may be more inclined to use space heaters.But, those space heaters are one of the causes of the dramatic increase in house fire related deaths in Alabama.

More times than not, in Northport, lately, where's there’s been smoke there's been fire.

When snow falls and some of us may use alternative sources of heat, the Northport Fire and Rescue's interim Chief Bart Marshall said the more than double increase in house fire deaths is hard to grasp. “It’s disturbing and heartbreaking.”

Marshall added they see the most house fires between 8 at night to 6 in the morning, while people are asleep.

One of the biggest increases that firefighters across the state have seen is the number of deaths related to fires. From Jan 1-February 13 in 2013 there were 13 fire deaths. During that same time period this year that number has jumped to 32.

Beakie Powell with the West Alabama Red Cross said they see the devastating impact first hand, mainly from people trying to stay warm.

“This time of the year we see people using alternate forms of heating. Space heaters, fireplaces, electrical heaters and we really try to teach people within the community to be safe about those uses,” Powell said.

So how do you prevent becoming a victim? Marshall said, “In the fire service we believe that every fire death could be prevented in some shape or form.”

The Chief added don't leave alternative forms of heat unattended, give space heaters 3 feet of room in every direction, and don't use your oven to heat your home.

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