Huntsville House Fires Are Increasing, Investigators Say

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Huntsville Fire and Rescue is seeing an increase in house fires, and they're encouraging home owners to remember fire prevention basics.

Tramaine Snodgrass is a fire investigator with Huntsville Fire and Rescue. He says every year, typically in December, the number of house fires increases. "This is an extremely busy time of the year for us, especially in the holiday season, with candles, space heaters, fire places. Fire safety is at utmost importance right now," Snodgrass says.

This year though, that busy time period got started early. Snodgrass says they've been called out to more house fires over the last few weeks than what is normally expected. He says he's not sure what's causing the increase, but because of it, he says it's important to remember fire safety.

Snodgrass says one of the main rules is to make sure what you are using for a heater is meant for that purpose. "I've seen many different types of devices," Snodgrass says.

He says he's seen things used in the place of heaters that could or did lead to dangerous situations.  "A lot of people are just negligent in general as far as heating, proper heating, with the use of heating devices in the home."

Snodgrass says using space heaters improperly or using appliances like the stove for heat are dangerous. "The stove not only is not a safe method of heat, it also releases toxic fumes in the house as well," Snodgrass says.

He says to keep warm, it's important to only use devices specifically designed for heating. "It is important to make sure the device you use is properly rated and is safe to use for you and your family."

Fire investigators say it's important to make sure the batteries in your home's smoke alarms are still good, and that everything is working properly.