House fires increase around holidays and in winter, local Red Cross officials say


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — During the holidays and winter months, Red Cross Officials say five families lose their homes each day in the Triangle due to fires.

“Home fires are America’s largest disaster threat, about 63,000 homes burn each year, leaving people homeless,” said Barry Porter.

Porter is the regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross.

He says in the Triangle, there are about five families who are left homeless every day due to house fires.

During, the winter months those fires increase.

In October, the Red Cross responded to 107 house fires, says Porter. The next month, in November, the number increased to 147. That’s nearly a 30 percent increase.

“As the weather gets colder, people use alternative heating sources — half of Americans do that, and here in the Triangle is no different,” said Porter.

Porter says another big cause of house fires are people overloading their circuits because of holiday decorations.

Porter says to lose everything in a fire is already difficult, but to have it happen during the holidays is even harder on families.

“Each loss of a home to a fire is an emotional and financial toll on the family,” said Porter.

Porter says in recent history, the Red Cross has put a focus on the mental health of people affected by fires.

He says a lot of fires can be prevented. Porter says simply making sure fire alarms, and if needed, carbon monoxide detectors are working properly can save a lot of heartaches — and even lives during this time of year.

Porter says in total last year, the local Red Cross assisted families with more $1 million.

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