Heating and cooking top cause of winter fires, QFD says - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Heating and cooking top cause of winter fires, QFD says

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

The Illinois State Fire Marshal says that house fires are more likely to occur at this time of year than any other.

It's a message local firefighters are also endorsing.

The Quincy Central Fire Station say it has responded to 19 fires this winter.

On February 1, two area homes caught fire. A faulty chimney got the blame for a Quincy house fire. And, in Canton, firefighters say an old furnace caught on fire.

These are two examples of why Firefighter Jerry Mast urges you to be cautious when heating your home.

"People have different ways of heating their house that's not really safe such as ovens, space heaters, things like that," said Mast.

Mast says another fire risk is heating your home with an oven. Brad Burghart with Quincy Appliance says ovens are safer than ever before and are built with better insulation to help protect against fires.

"Most ranges have like 6 1/2 inches of insulation in the oven," said Burghart. "Which is designed to keep more of the heat in the oven rather than rather than heating the room."

While those improvements may prevent "cooking" fires with ovens, Mast says you still should avoid using an oven as a heat source.

"Don't rely on your stove or oven to heat your home. They're not made for that and they're a huge fire hazard when used improperly," said Mast.  

Firefighters say you can do three easy steps to reduce the likelihood of your home catching fire this winter.

- Get your chimney inspected every year by a chimney sweep

- Have your furnace serviced every fall

- Use your oven for what it's intended for

Firefighters say 2/3 of all fire related injuries are due to people trying to fight the fire themselves. Firefighters say call 9-1-1.

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