More Cold = More House Fires

- AMARILLO --Winter time is already the most dangerous time of the year for house fires but, this extended cold snap is adding to the danger.  Something local firefighters are wary of.

        When the weather outside is like this, our local firefighters get a little on edge because they know what's coming.

        While cooking is the leading cause of house fires year round, heating your home is the second leading cause in the winter.  That's because many times, people will use things like the stove or space heaters to help heat their home.

        Something fire officials say you shouldn't do.

        Space heaters are meant to be used for a short period of time and can overheat sparking a fire.

        Kitchen appliances are a big no-no because heating the home is not what they're designed to do.

        While these things can keep firefighters busy during the winter months, they also have to worry about their own equipment functioning properly.  "When you're dealing with a prolonged cold period like this, even fire equipment has a tendency to freeze-up and doesn't work right so we're always more keenly aware of that."  Potter county fire chief Richard Lake said.

        Lake says they watch the weather forecasts regularly and when they see freezing weather coming they know more fires are coming.

        According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) an average of 945 people die each winter in U.S. house fires.

        The prime time for these fires to ignite is 5pm to 8pm.

        The kitchen is the most prevalent place where those fires start.

        Increased fire danger isn't the only thing keeping firefighters busy during this cold snap.  Because they're first responders, they work a lot of traffic accidents as well.

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