Cold weather could lead to more structure fires

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It has become a situation that has become all to frequent over the past few weeks.

"Just after 9 o'clock this morning we had a call in from dispatch. A report of smoke coming from the roof of the structure behind me. Fire crews were on scene within three minutes and reported that they had fire conditions on site on the second floor of the property," said La Crosse Fire Department Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention and Building Safety Craig Snyder.

But the fire department says that it might not be a coincidence blazes are breaking out this time of year.

"Cold weather is definitely a factor," said Snyder.

The home on the 2600 block of Jackson Street that was on fire Tuesday morning was vacant at the time and there has been no determination of what caused the fire yet.

But the winter time can be a busy one for fire departments.

The fire department says that when people are using space heaters or extension cords because of the cold, it increases the chance of having a fire situation.

"Anytime we get this colder weather, space heaters start to become a little bit of an issue. You always want to maintain three foot clearance around your space heaters. We have to remember too that space heaters are designed to be plugged in directly into an outlet, not into extension cords or power taps. They will overheat, those power taps and cords, and we can have fires," said Snyder.

And while people may be traveling during the winter or just want to save on their energy bill, the fire department says that could also end in flames

"People always ask us is it okay to shut my heat off? No, obviously not, turn it down if you can but we want to maintain that 55 degrees at least in a house especially when it's this cold out cause then we'll start to have water pipes freezing and breaking, which can also in turn cause problems with the electrical services", said Snyder.

The fire department also responded to a fire in an apartment at 700 Market Street early Tuesday afternoon.

No one was injured as a result of either fire.

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