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December 21, 2022

State Fire Marshal Urges Safety Awareness to Avoid Fire Tragedies

The State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) Office is pleading with the public to increase fire safety awareness and prevention efforts as deputies continue to investigate multiple fatal home fires across the state in just one day.

“It’s cold outside and we know cold temperatures go hand-in-hand with fire tragedies,” said State Fire Marshal Dan Wallis, “But we haven’t even seen the harshest temperatures yet. That’s why I’m very concerned and urging families to be aware of the fire hazards in their homes and in the homes of those they love.”

“These deaths are all devastating, especially because, of what we know, they were all likely preventable,” said Wallis, “Please, stop what you are doing now and look around your home. Do you have a working smoke alarm? Are there hazards in your home that can lead to fire danger? Head to your elderly neighbor or relative’s home and do the same check. Following our simple safety steps can and will save lives.”

Those key safety messages include:

  • Place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like blankets and curtains
  • Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes
  • Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood-burning stoves
  • Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended
  • Keep holiday decorations 3-5 feet from heat sources and be mindful of not only the quality of their wires, but how many decorations are plugged into one power source
  • Have working smoke alarms in your home!

 Lastly, these deaths bring our state’s fire fatality count up to 75 with more than 10 days left in the year. In all but a handful of those cases, no working smoke alarms were found.

Smoke alarms save lives and our Operation Save-A-Life partners with local fire departments to install FREE smoke alarms for families that need them most. To learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, or to register for a free smoke alarm, visit

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