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Red Cross Offers Tips For Preventing Holiday House Fires

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The house fire in Brighton (credit: Korey Preston)

The house fire in Brighton (credit: Korey Preston)

DENVER (CBS4) – The Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross has responded to a half dozen fires along the Front Range just this week. The charity sees more fires over the holidays and many are preventable.

The fire that ripped through a home in Brighton Tuesday was caused by flames that escaped from an outside grill too close the fence. The home was a total loss just days before Thanksgiving.

Although the fire originated outside, the Red Cross says cooking is the number one cause of fires. The holiday season is also a time when volunteers see a spike in fires.

“Unattended cooking is a big factor,” Patricia Billinger with the Red Cross said. “Grease fires that people improperly try to put out. Deep fryers sometimes cause fires.”

Help avoid cooking fires by keeping anything flammable away from the stove, as well as keeping children and pets at least 3 feet away.

Pets can often knock things over that catch fire, including candles — the next common cause of house fires.

“When we light candles we make sure they are on a non-flammable surface,” Billinger said. “We see a four-fold increase of candle-related fires during the holidays.”

Space heaters are another common cause of fires.

Having heating sources like a furnace checked on a regular basis can also help prevent fires like one that tore through a Front Range mobile home. The cause was likely faulty furnace wiring.

To stay safe, make sure homes have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Between June of last year and this summer the Red Cross responded to nearly 63,000 house fires nationwide. More than 300 of those were in Colorado.

The Red Cross responds to an average of a disaster a day in Colorado. It always appreciates donations this time of year as volunteers respond more often and help more victims.

To make a donation, visit the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross website.

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