Breaking News
More () »

Tips from Arkansas first responders on avoiding house fires in winter

In December 2022, the Red Cross assisted in the aftermath of nearly 40 house fires across Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri.

ROGERS, Ark. — It may be unseasonably warm right now, but winter is far from over.

The cold months come with more house fires.

The American Red Cross serves people in a number of ways including those who lose their homes to fire. Spokesperson John Brimley says in December 2022, the organization assisted in the aftermath of nearly 40 house fires across Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. 

“For the most part is typical, but there was a span for a region right before Christmas, and maybe a day or two after Christmas, where we saw numbers that were higher than normal,” said Brimley.

Rogers Fire Chief Tom Jenkins says the increase in fires this time of year is largely due to the use of fireplaces and alternative heating appliances in homes.

“When it gets really cold, people will try to supplement whatever processes they have to heat their homes, and sometimes it doesn't work out well,” said Chief Tom Jenkins.

Jenkins says if you do use a fireplace have it regularly inspected and only burn approved materials. He says the number one rule is to not use anything to heat your home that’s not designed for that specific purpose. 

“It's when people use things like ovens to heat their home. Well, an oven is not designed to heat a dwelling unit to do so for a continuous amount of time. And there are no safeguards in case that oven malfunctions, which it likely will when tasked to do something like that, especially over time,” said Jenkins.

The Red Cross assisted around 130 people who lost their homes by providing shelter, food, clothing and more. Brimley says they try to cover the whole health of the family impacted.

“When you talk about a loss of, or destruction of property, you're talking about an emotional toll that a family or an individual goes through when they see things that they've worked hard for their entire lives lost,” said Brimley.

The Rogers Fire Department says you need to have a smoke detector in every room on every floor of your house. You also need to have a carbon monoxide detector. All fire departments in Arkansas should have smoke detectors for free. If you are in need of some you are asked to call your local fire department.  

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.

Before You Leave, Check This Out