Firefighters see spike in fires started by kids around the holidays

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-- A couple of kids playing with fire could have done some serious damage. Thankfully, the Huntsville Fire Department responded quickly and got it under control. The kids caused an outside fire on Rainwood Drive that damaged a couple of yards and a fence.

Neighbors feared that the kids didn't truly understand the consequences of what could have happened had the fire gotten out of hand.

Huntsville Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson confirms that fear, saying most of the time when they see juveniles and fires, the kids don't know what they were getting into.

WHNT News 19 took action to remind parents how important it is to educate our kids on fire safety.

Fire Marshal Wilkerson said it's not uncommon for them to respond to fires started by juveniles during this time of year.

"During time that schools are out, you know holidays, summer break, spring break, we see our numbers of fires go up that children have started," he said.

Wilkerson said kids underestimate fire, and how fast it can spread, with even the smallest embers turning into a catastrophic flame.

"Typically what happens is where they think it's just going to be a small fire that they can contain it, next thing you know it's gotten out of control and it's larger than what they anticipated," he said.

He said they encourage parents to constantly educate their children on fire safety, even something as simple as teaching your child to go outside and call 9-1-1 at the first sign of a fire.

"We warn the parents, especially if parents are working and the kids are home alone that they make sure the lighters and matches are secured," said Wilkerson.

And while we need to keep kids and their fire safety in mind this holiday season, also remember the sacrifice our firefighters make to keep us safe.

"Our suppression crews work twenty-four hours on and forty-eight hours off, so we will have crews tomorrow that will be manning the stations, and be away from their families," said Wilkerson.