State Fire Marshal's Office sends safety warning regarding cold weather

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) West Virginia ended 2016 with 56 fire related deaths - a number higher than the previous two years.

In an effort to reduce the amount of fires caused, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office is sending out a safety warning.

In the cold weather months, fire departments receive more carbon monoxide calls, chimney fire calls and space heater fires calls than any other time of the year.

Chief Mark Stewart with the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department, who also serves as the Assistant State Fire Marshal, recommends having smoke alarms installed in your home, and says there are other things you can do to protect your household.

"You should have your chimney inspected by a professional at the beginning of the season before you start burning wood," Stewart said. "And then periodically, at least monthly, let it cool down and look down to see if there is a problem developing or not. As far as space heaters go, keep all the combustibles away from your heater and fire place, from 3 feet in all directions."

Stewart says you can contact the American Red Cross if you need assistance with your smoke alarms.