WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It was busy summer for the Wilmington Fire Department. Between May and August of this year, crews responded to 114 cooking and smoking-related fires.
Smoking fires are the number one cause of fatal home fires.
“Don’t just assume my butt has gone out," said Wendy Giannini-King, the Community Risk Reduction Coordinator with the Wilmington Fire Department. “When you drop it into your receptacle, make sure it goes out. If it’s in water, make sure you can hear the sizzle and see the color change. Then you know it’s out. Don’t just drop it in onto the floor or step on it for a second and assume it’s gone out because that’s the trick with the smoking fires.”
This past summer, WFD responded to 14 smoking fires in the city. Most of the causes vary from putting cigarettes out in flowerpots, putting them out in the grass, or smoking in bed.
Wendy says to use sturdy ashtrays instead of plastic drink bottles. She says to make sure you wet the cigarette as you put it out, especially as you’re going to bed at night.
Cooking fires are the number one cause of fire in the home. Distracted and/or unattended cooking is a trend in which fires start.
“Stick with what you’re cooking," said Wendy. "Don’t let it get away from you. Pay attention.”
Between May and August of this year, WFD crews responded to more than 100 cooking/kitchen related fires in Wilmington. Wendy says many of the causes were having things that burn too close to the heat source, unattended cooking, high temperatures while cooking, frying, boiling, leaving the room while cooking, or cooking near pine straw or grass.
“If something seems dangerous or if the temperature feels like it’s getting too hot, oil’s popping, take measures to curb that dangerous behavior before it gets out-of-control into a fire or worse," said Wendy.
WFD has a Home Fire Safety Self-Inspection Checklist designed to help you improve the safety of your home.