JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Fire Department is seeing a jump in fires this year.
How many fires have JFD responded to this month? The Joplin Fire Department says they have responded to 13 structure fires over the past 14 days. I found out the common causes of those fires and how to prevent fires in your home.
Jim Furgerson, Fire Chief City of Joplin, said, “its been an abnormally busy start of the month for us. Including mutual aid calls we’ve responded to 13 structure fires since December the first.”
The Joplin Fire Department has responded and assisted in 93 structure fires since the beginning of the year — that’s compared to 110 fires in 2019. The Joplin Fire Chief is not sure what’s causing the jump in fires this year.
“I don’t know if there’s really any rhyme or reason. We’ve had several fires that have been suspicious in nature. We’ve had three confirmed arson fires where the cops have taken people into custody. We had two fires that were determined to be the cause was left to be undetermined because the state fire marshal couldn’t get into those areas. We’ve had some that were accidental.”
JFD says there are ways to prevent fires from starting in your home.
“As it gets colder the big thing is maintenance. Get those heaters looked at. Have your fireplaces chimneys inspected. If your gonna have to use a space heater make sure you keep an area that’s clear around it a three to four foot radius. You don’t want clothing piled up next to them.”
There are also some holiday fire hazards in many homes.
“If you have a live Christmas tree you want to keep it watered. Christmas trees have a tendency to burn very quickly and hot when they dry out and catch fire.”
Chief Ferguson says families should have a fire evacuation plan in place and make sure smoke detectors are working.
“One of the biggest lifesaving things you can have in your home to help you get out is a smoke detector. A smoke detector gives you those precious seconds to get out and get out in a hurry.”
Chief Fergerson says if you are using an extension cord make sure it is heavy duty and high quality because cheaper ones tend to be fire hazards. He also reminds everyone to never try to put out a fire inside your home. Get outside right away and call 911.