Multiple house fires breeds concern for safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Multiple house fires breeds concern for safety

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The first big freeze is on it's way. Saturday's temperatures are expected to drop as low as 29 degrees in some areas of southwest Georgia. Many of you have already turned on the heat in your home this season, and if you haven't, Saturday would be the night to do it.

But as folks start up their fire places and turn up the heat, the chances for house fires greatly increase. The Albany Fire Department responded to two heating related fires on Saturday alone.

Firefighters say it's their busiest time of the year. A season when keeping your home warm means turning on heaters and lighting up the fireplace.

But those two things alone can be a recipe for disaster.

"You've got to remember, you do have a fire in your house," says Harry Robertson with Dirty Harry's Chimney Sweeps.

While a small fire in the fireplace is controlled, the chimney and the continuous creosote buildup that comes along with it aren't.

"If it ever catches on fire, it just creates a tremendous updraft. It's like the bellows to its like a vicious cycle its like a fire tornado inside the chimney," says Robertson.

That's why the National Fire Protection Association recommends cleaning your chimneys once a year. They also say the type of wood used to heat a home makes the difference.

"Good dry wood with a hot fire burns cleaner than a low smoldering fire or greenwood," says Robertson.

Many people rely heavily on heating units to keep the house warm. Just like a home right off Gardner Drive in Albany.

Kelly Harcrow\Albany Fire Department

"They had been having some trouble with the heating unit for several days. They hadn't been able to shut it off," says Kelly Harcrow with the Albany Fire Department.

The home's heater power never turned off, causing the unit to over heat and malfunction. Firefighters were called to put out the fire  around 2:30 Saturday afternoon. No one was home at the time of the blaze and no one was injured.

"It was an electrical or appliance issue and like I said before, over a period of time, those things are going to break down," says Harcrow.

And fire experts say even the safest homes can play victim to dangerous fires but paying attention to detail could keep your family and home safe.

"Try to be as safe as you can. Use UL logistic cords. If you are going to use space heaters don't put anything right in front of them. If you aren't using appliances best thing to do is to turn them off," says Harcrow.

And experts say the more cautious you are when heating your home, the better protected you'll be against the threat of fires.

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