Winter Weather Fire Warnings

Winter Season Brings Increased Fire Threat

HORSEHEADS (WENY)--- In the past week the Twin Tiers has seen a handful of fires from the fire at Sheesley's sewer company, to the Newark Valley house fire that killed volunteer firefighter, Matthew Porcari.

Owego Firefighter, Cliff Alexander says,  "People call us heros, by the way we die. I think it's more how they live prior to that he was a dedicated fireman and gave his life for the community that he supported so."

On average, winter fires cause about 950 deaths, 3,800 injuries and $1.7 billion  in damage every year. So, how can you put a freeze on fires this season?

"Be a little more diligent in safety and looking for things that may be a problem," said Elmira Fire Marshall, Joseph Marino.

And, the problem could be the heater in your home. That means, wood stoves, fire places and space heaters.

"Portable heating units should only be used when you are in the room and keep it away from a common path of travel so they can't be knocked over by children or pets," said Marino.

General Manager Jeff Weaver from the "Do It' Center in Horseheads says, "They do require you to pay attention to them. Most of them have an anti-tipping device, that's what you should look at, if it tips over it will turn off automatically."

It's also important to keep flammable materials, like clothing and blankets, at least three feet away from the heaters. And some devices are not meant for the bedroom.

"We have in stock some propane heaters that are made for garage use and outdoor use, but definitely only under supervision," said Weaver.

It's important to keep an eye on your heater at all times and always practice fire drills with your family.

"Remember general fire safety, cleanliness, and make sure everyone has a meeting place," said Marino.