Lawton Fire Department shares safety tips for homeowners

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -An active start of the year for the Lawton Fire Department. Since January first, they've responded to 19 fire related calls. Just in the past week alone, they've battled grass, home, and structure fires. On Friday morning, crews were called to put out a fire at an abandoned home on 28th street and I avenue.

The home was engulfed in flames when they got there and they were able to stop it from spreading to the house next door, and to trees in the home's backyard. The electricity to the home was turned off and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Lawton Fire Department responds to many abandoned house fires every year. Assistant Fire Marshal Marc Sutphin said it happens more often when the temperatures drops and people will start fires to stay warm.

"They may bring tree limbs or construction material that may be found in the home or outside the home and start a fire that they think is going to be a warming fire and then they don't realize that that fire is going to get worse and worse it's going to heat up everything around it and if is big enough before they know what that room is going to be on fire," said Sutphin.

He advises homeowners to check on there vacant property and make sure its secured.

"Neighborhood Services does contact those building owners to try to ensure that they do board up their homes to keep people from out out from getting in there because that's a chance of somebody getting hurt," said Sutphin.

Another common cause of house fires are those that start in the kitchen Sutphin said kitchen fires can be prevented by staying alert in the kitchen if you are cooking and make sure you have a working smoke detector in your kitchen, hallway, and bedrooms.

"Smoke alarms are the most important item that you can have in your home to alert you of an emergency. If there is a fire in your home. The key is early notification," said Sutphin.

They also cite space heaters as another common cause of fires.

"Keep your kids away from space heaters maintain at least 3 foot space around your space or your from combustibles newspapers magazines don't have the heater pointed directly at a couch or chair it needs to be towards the center of the room," said Sutphin.

Sutphin advises homeowners to have a plan in place in case your home catches fire. It's important to know where your exits are, and if you have a window you can escape through.

On Thursday several departments battled a large grass fire that spread across several acres along I-44 and Lee Blvd. Sutphin said while the dry weather and strong winds play a significant role in grass fires, he said there are things people can do to help prevent them from happening.

"Being cognitive of don't throwing discarded cigarettes out if they are pulling a trailer check out to make sure that their chains are connected to the back of their truck and that's just proper maintenance with their vehicles," said Sutphin.

Sutphin said if  you see a fire outside along the road or if one starts and begins to grow inside your home, don't wait too long before you call 911 for help because the longer you wait, the more is can spread and cause damage.

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