Cold weather brings risk of fire: QC fire experts give tips on challenges, safety

Local News

Local 4 News responded to 16 hours fires this month alone. Fire departments say they see more fires in colder weather.

JHomes have been catching on fire at a rapid rate in the Quad Cities. Rock Island Fire Marshal Greg Marty says he and his crews respond to 70 to 80 percent of their yearly fires in the winter months. The majority of them involve home heating.

“The main thing is to maintain your equipment, maintain your furnace,” Marty advises homeowners. “Have it serviced annually. Maintain your fire place. Have it inspected and cleaned at least annually and then if you use a space heater, keep it three feet from combustibles and stay in the room where you’re using it the whole time.”

Local 4 News has been all over the grid covering fires. On Saturday in Colona, a fire started from a wood-burning stove inside a house. Firefighters had it under control within 30 minutes. But Fire Chief John Swan says in sub-zero weather it’s a tough battle making sure water doesn’t freeze.

“We have to keep the water moving in the winter time,” Swan said. “We run with dry pumps in the winter time. When we get on scene we close them out so we go to a wet pump so we have to keep the water moving because our nozzles will freeze out there in those type of environments.”

While not all fires are preventable, there’s one thing you can do to protect your family in the event a fire does start, Marty says: “The best way to protect your family is to make sure that you have working smoke detectors in every sleeping area of your home and on every floor of your home.”

Both fire locations in Moline on Tuesday morning did not have working smoke detectors. Marty recommends checking smoke detectors monthly in your home to make sure they work properly.

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