As temperatures drop, the number of house fires rise

NFPA: Space heaters account for 80% of home heating fire deaths

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There were six fires this weekend in western Massachusetts, four in Springfield, one in Westfield, and another in Huntington. The fire on Sherman Street in Springfield started from a candle that was lit during a power outage.

With winter on its way, more severe weather will soon follow. That’s why it’s important to make sure you pick up the essentials before a storm hits.  That includes flashlights, and picking the right type of smoke detector.

“Photoelectric detects the ones that smolder for a while, usually made by cigarettes or something like that, and then burst into flames later. Ionization detects the ones that burst into flames right away and grow faster,” said Samantha Brown, an employee at Rocky’s Ace Hardware in South Hadley.

As the temperatures cool down, more people are turning up the heat. Two of this weekend’s six fires started from an electrical malfunction.

“The big thing with anything electric is you want to have it U.L. listed, Underwriters Laboratory. Look for those two letters on there. It tells you a device has been tested to a higher standard,” said Captain Anthony Cerruti, of the Holyoke Fire Prevention Unit.

That’s why if you’re plugging in home heating equipment or even lights for the holidays, replace broken cords and loose bulbs. If you’re using an extension cord, make sure you get the right one. Using an indoor cord outside, can cause overheating and short circuits.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, portable and stationary space heaters account for 80% of home heating fire deaths.

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