Virginia Beach

Fire crews respond to multiple fires across Hampton Roads during holidays

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) -- Firefighters across Hampton Roads have had to respond to a number of fires during the holidays.

December and January are the peak months for residential fires.

"Now we're turning into the cold weather months, so when we do that people are using more and more heating equipment, whether it be fireplaces, space heaters, furnaces, whatever that'll be used more," said Virginia Beach Fire spokesman Art Kohn.

Monday morning in Portsmouth on Mount Vernon Avenue, officials believe a house fire started because a space heater was too close to a rug.

But Kohn says the biggest cause of residential fires is cooking.

"Lets face it, during the holiday period we're doing a lot of cooking, and what happens when we're cooking? We have family and friends over, there's lots of distractions, it's easy to walk out of the kitchen for just a minute, and then get carried away into a conversation and five minutes after you walk out you now have a fire on the stove," Kohn said. 

He warns about smoking, and making sure all cigars and cigarettes are completely out.

"Cooking fires are the number one cause for residential fire and are the number one cause for injury to residential fires, smoking fires are the number one cause for fatal fires," Kohn said. 

So as people are making their new years resolutions, one idea is to add checking your smoke detector for the New Year. 

"You would be surprised how many fires we go to and find, yes, people did have smoke alarms in there -- they didn't have any batteries in the smoke alarm." 

Kohn says it can save your life.

"You have doubled your chances of surviving a residential fire if you have a smoke alarm -- a working smoke alarm."


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