House fires increase during cold weather; prevention tips

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Every year dozens of Texomans lose their homes to fire, and as temperatures go down firefighters say the number of fires will only increase.

Denison Assistant Fire Chief Bill Ray says space heaters are one of the most common fire starters in the winter. Ray says before you switch them on you need to do more than make sure the path is clear.

"They use extension cords that are not meant for that kind of load. They'll short out catch the wall plug on fire, or the extension cord itself will catch the carpet on fire," Ray said.

Ray also says you need to make sure any heating device you plan to use is deemed safe.

"Needs to have some type of stamp on it that says it's been tested," Ray said.

Firefighters say another important thing to remember is to make sure your furnace is clear of grime and dirt.

"They get clogged up and not ventilate well and then carbon monoxide becomes an issue," Ray said.

However, even if you prepare like you should Allstate agent Terry Everett says you can still be a victim if your neighbor's house catches fire.

"The fire department is out and they're spraying water everywhere so you can get some water damage as well, and you know you might have nice big screen TV in there and it gets ruined," Everett said.

That is why Everett says it is smart to make sure you have home owners or renters insurance. He says insurance that will cost you 50 to 60 cents a day could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

"Its just well worth spending a little bit today then having to come up with a bunch tomorrow," Everett said.

"You never replace those things that mean something to your family, but objects that can be replaced at least you don't have to worry about that financial gain, or burden," Ray said.

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