(Editor’s note: The following information was provided by the Maple Grove Fire Department)
The city of Maple Grove has experienced an unusual number of structure fires in recent weeks. Even more unusual, all have occurred within Maple Grove Fire Station 4’s district. Since Oct. 23, firefighters from Maple Grove have responded to six fires in residential homes. Fortunately, no serious injuries occurred because of these fires.
Although there were six fires in such a short period of time, there have not been a significantly greater number of fires recently than there were to this point in time last year. In 2018, Maple Grove Firefighters responded to a total of 94 fires of all types, including 31 structure fires through Nov. 23. During the same time period in 2019, Maple Grove Firefighters have responded to 105 fires, including 33 structure fires. So far in 2019, Maple Grove Fire Department has responded to a total of 899 emergency calls. This is similar to Maple Grove’s busiest year, when Maple Grove Fire Department responded to 905 emergency calls through Nov. 23, 2008.
It may be unusual, but it isn’t unheard of for this many fires to occur in such a short period of time and be located very close to one another. This brings up the question of what the fires have in common and whether residents need to be concerned about fire safety in their neighborhood. Maple Grove Fire investigators determined that none of the fires were intentional and each started under unique circumstances. The fact that they happened in the same part of town and so close together appears to be coincidental.
According to Fire Chief Tim Bush, “The only thing these fires have in common, other than being located close to each other, is simple human error. It’s also important to never wait to call 911 if you think something is burning that shouldn’t be on fire.”
The National Fire Protection Association lists cooking, heating, and electrical distribution/lighting as the top three causes of home fires. They note “Home structure fires are more common in cooler months when people spend more time inside and in the hours when people are awake in the home.” Although only about 20% of fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., these fires are the ones that cause the most fire deaths.
Never hesitate to call 911 if you think something is on fire. Fires involving materials found in modern homes spread quickly. With the change of seasons and cooler weather, Maple Grove Firefighters want to remind everyone practice fire safety, including:
• Have up to date and working smoke alarms in your home
• Have up to date and working carbon monoxide alarms too
• Make sure alarms are tested every month
• Unless they have a sealed 10-year battery, change batteries twice a year
• Never leave cooking unattended.
• If you have a fireplace, always have the chimney inspected before seasonal use and make sure it is cleaned if recommended by the inspector
• Only used approved fuels for fireplaces and wood burning stoves
• Never use a fireplace or wood burning stove to dispose of old newspaper, trash, or gift wrapping paper by burning
• If you use holiday lights limit the use of extension cords and only use UL approved lights and cords
• Locate space heaters in areas clear of combustible items
• Only use portable heaters approved for indoor use inside your home
• Limit the use of extension cords with space heaters and if necessary, only use an approved extension cord