Amarillo Fire Department prepares for possible high amounts of winter fires

Amarillo Fire Department prepares fro high amount of winter fires.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 7:08 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo Fire Department saw a record number of fires in 2021 and this year seems to be no different.

“We had over 600 fires just during the winter months of last year; probably close to half of those fires last year were started by vagrants who trespassed into vacant buildings and started warming fires, cooking fires, that sort of thing,” says Jeff Justus, Public Information’s Officer, Amarillo Fire Department.

Justus says, “We’ve already had several structure fires in the last couple of weeks. We generally see an uptick at this time of year anyway.”

The Amarillo Fire Department says they have addressed the public more than usual about fire safety and are prepared for this holiday season.

“We in fact just finished live fire training for this year. It was almost six weeks of every crew in town going through the training, so we were prepared no matter what,” says Justus.

Amarillo Fire suggests for the holiday season to not leave cooking unattended, keep at least a three foot perimeter cleared around space heaters, and to not overload outlets.

Just this weekend, Amarillo Fire Department responded to three house fires, two of which were unoccupied homes.

“If you know of a vacant or abandoned structure, keep an eye on it. Even if it’s not yours because if it catches fire, it could spread to your house,” says Justus.

Another way to prevent house fires is too remain alert of trespassers.

Justus says, “If you own a property that is vacant or something that you’re fixing up, make sure that you patrol it regularly. You can’t just board the house up and expect everyone to stay out of there, they’re going to find a way to break into that home, so we had several structure fires.”