Officials: House fires more common during winter months

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Angie Grajeda has worked with the Red Cross since 2007. She loves being able to work within the community and help people in need. During the winter, Grajeda says the Red Cross responds to more fires than they wish they had to.

"We respond to house fires on a daily basis, sometimes three and four this time of year," said Grajeda.

According to Harrison County Fire Marshall, Pat Sullivan, seeing an increase in house fires is common in the winter.

"There's not one specific thing that we have a trend in. We've had several fires and each one of them has a different cause to it," said Sullivan.

Sullivan says the key is to be cautious when using alternative heat sources like stoves or space heaters. He also warns against putting things other than wooden logs in fire places. Another reason for the increase in fires is cigarettes.

According to Sullivan, because of the cold temperatures smokers will smoke closer to the house and rush back in, not properly putting their cigarettes out.

"Smoke detectors and early warning, without a doubt is one of the most important things. If we can get a small fire detected and put that out quickly, everyone wins in that case."

Although no one wants to think about experiencing a house fire, Grajeda adds that you should still prepare for the worst.

"Have a plan on how to get out of your house if a fire does occur. You want to make sure that people are able to get out safely and not get hurt. So, practice that plan and talk to your family about that plan," said Grajeda.

If you have any questions about how to get a smoke detector or general fire safety tips, you can call the State Fire Marshall at 888-648-0877.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.