Preventing home heating fires - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Preventing home heating fires

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—In 2010, United States fire departments responded to more than 57,000 home structure fires that involved heating equipment.

Those fires caused 490 deaths and 1,530 injuries.

The biggest thing people can do to avoid a heating equipment related fire is proper maintenance.

National Fire Protection Association said you should have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a professional.

You should also keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment.

"Make sure that your damper is open," Lt. Bee Xiong, La Crosse Fire Department said. "Make sure you check your flue, look up your chimney with a bright light and make sure you can see the sky because sometimes animals, squirrels, and birds, stuff like that, will make nests in there any plug up your chimney."

Also, check your chimney for holes and cracks; soot along the seams can be a sign of a leak.

The leading factors in home fires:

  • 27% failure to clean
  • 14% heater too close to combustibles
  • 12% unclassified malfunction

Another thing to keep in mind, in Wisconsin all homes with fuel burning appliances, fire places or attached garages must have carbon monoxide detectors.

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