Fire Department issues tips to avoid wintertime house fires

The Biloxi Fire Department, which sees an increase in fire calls each winter, is asking residents to take steps to minimize the chance of igniting fires in their homes.

The department issued winter fire safety tips on Thursday, in the wake of two separate house fires in the past two days, including one that involved a fatality early Thursday morning. Additionally, forecasters are predicting frigid temperatures for this weekend.

The cause of the two house fires is under investigation, but Biloxi Fire Marshal Mark Dronet said that many fires this time of year are caused by “misuse of heating equipment, such as having heating equipment too close to combustibles.”

“The biggest problem is people failing to make sure that space heaters are at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. That’s the No. 1 problem,” Dronet said. “Another thing is when people use extension cords, they may use incorrect ones or overload them. We’ve also had instances where people go to bed at night and leave the fireplace unattended.”

The department’s Fire Prevention Bureau makes fire safety presentations throughout the year, and particularly stresses that residents take action this time of year.