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Health Officials: House Fires More Likely During the Holidays

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TIOGA COUNTY, N.Y. -

The Tioga County Public Health Department says house fires are three times more likely to occur on Thanksgiving compared to a typical day and happen more often during the holidays overall.

"The winter heating season is approaching, which also means the season for house fires," said Frank Okrasinski, Tioga County Fire Coordinator.

Officials say fires can be caused by heating units such as space heaters or fireplaces as well as holiday cooking and holiday lights. Okrasinski says there have been 83 structure fires in Tioga County this year but there are ways to prevent that.

"Fresh batteries in a smoke detector not only saves lives but decreases the amount of damage to the structure," said Okrasinski. "An early 911 call for all fires in a home, no matter how small, is the best action to take."

The Public Health Department also recommends making sure every home is equipped with functioning smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Free home safety visits through the Healthy Neighborhoods Program can replace any non-working detectors and extinguishers. You can call, 687-8600 to schedule a home safety check.