Archive for Thursday, November 4, 1999

TIPS TO AVOID WINTER FIRES

November 4, 1999

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While the cause of the fire at Gaslight Village mobile home park wasn't known Wednesday, officials said colder weather could bring an increase in home fires as residents try to stay warm.

As temperatures drop and furnaces kick on, the public education specialist for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical said homeowners and renters should have their furnace filters cleaned or replaced.

"One of the most important things is to check the flue for the furnace and the water heater, if they have a gas water heater," Leo Leiker said.

Deadly carbon monoxide can accumulate in homes with blocked flues, he said, and drivers shouldn't leave their car running to warm it up in a closed garage.

Portable heaters also spark fires during winter months, Leiker said.

"You can't have them around anything that's flammable," he said. "You don't want to stack stuff on them, don't throw clothes on them, and warn children to stay away from them."

Cords for holiday decorations, electric blankets and other appliances should be checked for any fraying or sparking, and Leiker said electrical outlets should not be overloaded. He also said candles never should be left unattended.

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