COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus Division of Fire crews were busy Saturday morning, responding to two serious fires within two hours of each other.
The first fire, on North Broadway sent three adults to the hospital. Two of them were treated for minor smoke inhalation and an adult male was taken to OSU Wexner Medical Center with first and second-degree burns on 25% of his body.
The second fire claimed a life on Keeler Drive. Battalion Chief Steve Martin with the Columbus Divison of Fire said the fire started in the kitchen and investigators ruled it as an accidental fire.
“It appeared that the resident began to cook some food on the stove in the kitchen and went back and laid down and fell asleep,” he said.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the leading cause of all house fires in the winter. Martin said that if you’re cooking, you need to try to find ways to remind yourself that the stove is on.
“Set a timer on the microwave to beep after five minutes,” he said.
Martin said the house had no working smoke alarms, which is something firefighters see more often than they would like.
“Thirty percent of the fires we roll up on we would not heir the chirping or the alarms going off,” Martin said.
He said everyone needs to check their smoke detectors at least once a month and that it could be the difference between life and death.
The holidays can be a particularly challenging time for fire departments. CFD says that US fire departments responded to an average of 840 fires started by holiday decorations and an average of 200 fires that started with Christmas trees each year between 2011 and 2015. The department is currently running a “12 Days of Fire Safety” campaign on social media, sharing tips to help people prevent fires throughout the season.