Red Cross sees a spike in house fires

A rise in house fires and how to prevent them
Posted at 12:03 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 00:03:07-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The American Red Cross is seeing an increase in house fires across the region, and it may be linked to the number of people staying home in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are attributing that increase to the fact that more people are staying home, cooking more and we expect that to continue to be the situation as people are continuing to stay home,” said Jill Red of the American Red Cross.

Fox 4 spoke with a family in Fort Myers who lost everything in a fire last night.

“I said the generator just went out, and he got up to put on his clothes, and the girl out there said our trailer was on fire and he started screaming we got to get out now, ” said Marian Hagen.

Her brother details the horrifying moments just before flames destroyed their family home.

“Seven and a half minutes, it jumped from that far back corner...and by time the fire department got here the whole place was engulfed, ” said Richard Fairchild.

The fire department tells Foxx 4 fires double in size every thirty seconds to a minute.

“Last night was the longest night of my life, just watching everything I own just gone,” said Richard Fairchild.

The Cape Coral fire department says there are plenty of ways to prevent a house fire.

1) Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop
2) Charge all devices on hard surfaces
3) Ensure sure your smoke detectors are up to date

“Make sure that you have batteries that work, and that you have them inside the hallway and on every level of the home, ” said Andrea Schuch of the Cape Coral Fire Department.

Smoke detectors are one of the greatest life-saving devices.