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Officials preach education amid recent string of fires

Published On: Mar 25 2014 02:42:38 AM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

Recent Northstate house fires have given firefighters headaches.

There were several incidents over the weekend – kitchens, garages, and homes on fire. It is something fire officials said could have been avoided with a little schooling.

"We don't want people getting into the habit of trying to put out a fire that's a little bit beyond their means to take care of,” said Redding Fire Inspector Patrick O’Connor. “That's the fire department's job."

A fire in Jones Valley left a family of nine displaced Saturday. It was caused by smoldering weeds. Fire officials said someone had burned them earlier in the day with a propane torch next to an outbuilding. The result was about $500,000 in damage.

"It's not traditional winter, where we're dealing with fireplaces and things like that,” O’Connor said. “So there's more outdoor activity now - more so than there was in the past where we see it in the summer time."

A trash can fire on Oakdale Lane in Redding destroyed a garage. Investigators said someone improperly disposed of their smoking material.

O’Connor said the statistics on that flammable material speak for themselves. National annual numbers show 7,600 fires can be attributed to smoking. Two-percent of those fires lead to death. One-third of those killed are children of smoking parents.

Officials said the best defense can be functioning equipment like smoke detectors and a sprinkler system.

"We try and keep the community educated as best we can. However, that voice only reaches so far," O’Connor said. "We hear it all the time, so we kind of just put it on the back-burner, so to speak, until a fire actually happens and it kind of scares someone enough to actually make it a priority."