Warning to stay safe while staying warm

By Meggan Gray – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The talk of possible snow Friday night has people in south Mississippi gearing up for some cold weather.

"Every time we get a little cold snap, people tend to come get some wood," said David Jones, owner of Mississippi Wood Products.

Jones sells firewood at the corner of Switzer Road and Pine Street in Gulfport.  His property is covered with just about every wood imaginable. With the cold weather coming to South Mississippi this weekend, he's staying busy.

"I have four orders, four truck loads on the books so far and that will increase. A lot of people come by and get a little bit of wood, even a few sticks," Jones said.

But before people light their fireplaces with his wood, Jones wants to remind folks to check their flue.

"If it needs cleaning, clean it. That soot... you can lose your house quick because the heat is so tremendous when you have a chimney fire."

Gulfport Fire District Chief Dereck Ladner knows that all too well.

"We usually see a rash of fires right around the first cold snap," Ladner explained. "Biggest thing, make sure your damper is open, make sure your flue is clean, and don't leave your fireplace unattended. Once you go to bed, put your fire out."

Space heaters are also a concern when the temperatures drop.

"Make sure you have your clearance space for your space heaters. Biggest thing to do with that is check your manufacturer's recommendations," Ladner said.

So whether you decide to pick up some wood and burn a cozy fire or plug in a space heater, Ladner said to remember to stay safe, and be cautious. He reminds people to check their heaters and pre-light their pilots.  He also said you should never use stoves or cooking appliances for heat.

"If people take these recommendations and precautions, hopefully we won't be busy and everybody will stay safe and warm."

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