Three fires in as many weeks. That’s how many fires have been reported, each on a Wednesday, inside the Perry city limits.
Fire Chief Chris Hinds said the cause of the Feb. 28 apartment fire on the 1300 block of 2nd Street was an unattended candle. The candle ended up on the couch and started the couch on fire.
The cause of the March 14 house fire at 1324 Willis Ave., Hinds said, was from a cigarette butt being thrown into a garbage can. The person who was smoking went into the bathroom after throwing away the cigarette. When the person came back out, Hinds said the house was already on fire.
The March 21 fire at 1213 and 1215 2nd St. is still under investigation by the Perry Volunteer Fire Department. Bacon Jewelers, Perry Floral and Gifts and Ben’s Five and Dime all saw significant smoke damage from the fire. All three businesses are currently closed because of the smoke damage.
Hinds offered a number of tips to help prevent fires like those in the future. He recommended that smokers pay close attention to where they put their smoking materials.
The biggest thing, Hinds said, is to not leave candles unattended. That rule is the same if you leave the house or even just the room where the candle is burning.
“Don’t leave the candle unattended in another room. Because pets or anything like that could cause it to get knocked over,” he said.
A breeze blowing in the window or a furnace kicking in could also blow the curtains into a candle.
“It’s very easy for something like that to get into the candle and start a fire,” Hinds said.
He offered other fire prevention tips moving into the spring season.
“I strongly recommend if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, that every spring you should have your chimney cleaned to get out the residue and buildup from the winter’s burning,” Hinds said.
The chimney should also be cleaned in the fall before it is used. Birds or rodents could get into the chimney and build nests, causing a fire hazard.
Hinds said those mowing lawns should be careful when refueling lawn mowers.
“If you’ve been out mowing and you run out of fuel, that’s a good time for you to sit down, relax, cool off yourself and let the mower cool off before you refuel it,” he said.
The fumes from the gasoline can be ignited from the heat coming off the engine, he said, causing a fire.
Barbecue grills are another item that should be checked before being used in the spring. Hinds said nests can also be built in unused grills over the winter. The grills should be cleaned before the first use.
People will also want to start cleaning up and burning debris this spring season.
“Be mindful of the wind directions and try not to burn on windy days,” Hinds said.