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Fire officials provide safety tips during winter months

Posted at 7:21 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 22:21:17-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Colder temperatures are here and Kern County Fire Department said structure fires are on the rise.

Three victims are recovering after being rescued from their homes that caught on fire, just in the last week in East Bakersfield.

County fire officials said they frequently see this issue during this time of year, but safety proofing your house ahead of time can prevent tragedy.

“As soon as the weather starts to cool we start seeing a spike in other types of calls, we start seeing more structure fires, we start seeing more calls for carbon monoxide fires,” Kern County Fire Department Public Information Officer, Andrew Freeborn said.

The cause of both fires is still undetermined by fire investigators, but officials said there was a common denominator in both blazes that could have helped alert residents sooner.

“They had in fact installed fire alarms in their home, smoke alarms in their home, but they weren't alerted to any form of smoke or fire in their home by these smoke alarms,“ Freeborn said.

Officials said this is why smoke alarms need to be tested every month.

"Almost all smoke alarms have a button that you can simply press and hold and it will go through the different alarms and beeps, and you can see ok in fact it is working," Freeborn said.

Freeborn said there other key factors playing into these types of fires during this time of year.

"It seems like anywhere from a third to half of all fires that are attributed to a decoration come back to candles, so candles are a significant source of fire starts throughout the united states. So by taking a couple of precautions with candles, making sure things aren't near your fireplace these are going to help reduce the chances of a fire starting in your home," Freeborn said.

According to Freeborn, space heaters should also never be covered, or close to anything flammable. He also said don't leave it on while you are not at home.

He said there are a few ways you can safety proof your home, stay proactive and warm all at the same time.

“Don't leave fires unattended, if you have a fire that's burning in the fire place make sure it's out before you go to bed. If you have hot coals from the fire place, when you dispose of them outside put them in a metal trash can of some sort that only has ashes, something with a lid and make sure it's away from the home, because that way if something does catch fire it doesn't spread to your home,” Freeborn said.

All three people who lived in the homes that caught on fire were rescued and returned to safety but they were all taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

At this time there is no update on their condition according to fire officials.