Home heating was the leading cause of fires in Franklin County in 2014

24 percent of fires were caused by cooking

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System report found 48 percent of residential fires in Franklin County were caused by heating.

24 percent of fires were caused by cooking. A wood stove was blamed for a Warwick house fire last month killed a mother and four of her children.

“We’ve known in this county that that there have been a lot of fatalities as a result of people using wood burners,” said William Bench of Millers Falls.

Heating caused just 20 percent of fires in Hampshire County and 27 percent in Berkshire county. These statistics didn’t come as much of a surprise for firefighters in Franklin County who have put out many house fires where heating was the problem.

“Many folks in this county do use wood or wood pellets to heat their homes so we do see sometimes improper disposal of ashes,” said Turners Falls Fire Department Captain Brian McCarthy.

“There is a feeling that it will never happen to them, there is a misnomer,” said Northfield Fire Chief Skip Dunnell.  “They really need to understand if you’re burning wood you have to pay that special attention to your equipment, make sure you get it serviced properly, and take care of it.”

Chief Dunnell said more people in Franklin County heat their homes with cheaper fuel sources like wood stove and wood pellets, than in others counties.

Dunnell told 22News non-functioning smoke detectors continues to a big problem across the state and also nationwide.