Deadly fires down in Ohio

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — New numbers from the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office show deadly fires are down in the state, even though this is typically the busiest time of year for firefighters.

Sixteen people were killed in fires in Ohio in January 2016. That’s down from 26 people killed in January 2015.

Firefighters attribute the decrease to both prevention and the mild winter weather.

When the lights and sirens sound, Dayton firefighters are prepared for danger.

“In her words, the smoke detector saved her life,” said Dayton Fire Department Public Information Officer Bryan Adams.

After seeing their fair share of deadly fires, firefighters have begged homeowners to get working smoke detectors, and their message is finally getting through to residents. Crews said what happened on East Third Street in February is proof of their efforts.

“We have had a recent experience where one of the smoke alarms that the fire department installed over the summer notified the occupant who was sleeping at the time of the fire and allowed her to escape,” said Adams.

It’s part of the statewide Safe and Sound campaign, emphasizing the importance of working smoke detectors and using heating devices properly. Since the campaign launched in October 2015, Ohio has had 19 fewer fire fatalities. That’s a 32-percent decrease. While prevention is key, it’s not the only factor behind the decline in Ohio fire deaths.

“It’s been somewhat warm this winter, so people haven’t resorted to some of the heating measures that they take, so that could lead to part of the decrease,” said Adams.

Adams said many times when the temperature drops, people use any means to stay warm, some of which are dangerous.

“A lot of times during the winter we find that people tend to use their cooking stoves, to heat the home — the oven. That is very unsafe and leads to a lot of problems,” said Adams.

Firefighters said it’s important you buy a proper heating device, like a space heater, and keep it at least three feet away from anything combustible. Adams said devices themselves aren’t dangerous but it’s how people use them.

“They have instructions for a reason,” said Adams.

Many fire departments have programs for fire education and prevention, and many of them also provide free installation of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors for people who need them.

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