Cold front headed toward Jacksonville spurs warning about risk of house fires

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Friday will mark the coldest day of the season with high temperatures only in the 40s. Temperatures will then dip into the low 20s through the weekend, according to The Weather Authority.

As people use heaters and other appliances to stay warm, officials warn that the chances of house fires increases.

Now through February is the peak season for house fires, and heating and electrical issues are the leading causes, according to Jacksonville Fire and Rescue spokesman Capt. Eric Prosswimmer.

JFRD responded to more fires than there were days in the month in January 2022.

There were a total of 44 fires, including a two-story house fire on Long Branch Boulevard, which happened on the coldest night in more than seven years in Jacksonville.

It took six hours to put out and 50 firefighters responded.

No one was hurt, but it’s a reminder that fires can happen anywhere.

“Everyone always thinks it can’t happen to me, but it can happen to anyone,” Prosswimmer said.

He recommends taking precautions as temperatures fall.

“One of the things is if you do have a portable space heater, make sure that it’s cleared out around it,” Prosswimmer said. “You don’t want to have anything that’s flammable that’s close. They’re obviously pushing out a lot of heat. They’re generating a lot of heat. You don’t want flammables there. You want to keep them out of the reach of kids.”

It’s also important to monitor your electrical breakers.

“People have a tendency to overload their extension cords and devices,” he said. “If you keep pushing it, you’re going to start a fire.”

He also recommends keeping a checklist to ensure nothing in your home could spark a fire.

Now is also a good time to check on your smoke detectors, and to keep a fire safety plan handy in case of an emergency.

If you live in Duval County and you need a smoke detector, those who qualify can get one and have it installed by JFRD for FREE. Call 904-630-CITY to make an appointment.

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.