Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

What are the most common causes of house fires?

Fires have always been a source of potential danger. We've been taught to check our fire alarms consistently. We're told to have an escape plan in place. We learn how to stop, drop and roll. We memorize the local emergency numbers.

Clearly, house fires are common, and they're a significant threat. Even with all this knowledge and education, they continue to take lives year in and year out. To help prevent a fire in your home, take a look at some of the top causes of house fires so you know what to avoid.

Heating problems

A lot of issues simply stem from people trying to heat their homes. A fireplace is left burning during the night and sparks jump out onto the carpet. A shirt gets laid out on top of an electrical heater to dry, and it catches on fire. A space heater overheats in the middle of the night and bursts into flames. Of course, it's necessary to heat your home during a Connecticut winter, but it's important to know where the risks lie.

Electrical wiring issues

Faulty electrical wiring can easily cause a fire, and you may never even see the source as it's hidden inside the walls. Two wires touch and begin to spark, lighting the insulation on fire. A breaker fails and allows a circuit to overheat. Someone hooks up an outlet incorrectly and creates a serious fire hazard. Electrical fires can break out at any time, even on lines that worked properly before.

Smoking in the house

Even if you think you put out a cigar or a cigarette, do not just throw it in the trash. Never smoke in bed or in any area where you think you could fall asleep. People accidentally start fires all the time because they choose to smoke indoors. Be safe.

Cooking mistakes

Cooking on a gas range or an electric burner means introducing another major heat source. Someone drops a towel on an open flame, and the kitchen catches on fire. The gas leaks overnight, at very low levels, but then it all ignites at the smallest spark. These are just a few examples, but you need to be vigilant about cooking safely.

Burn injuries

That house fire may not be your fault. Perhaps you live in a rental apartment and your landlord installed the faulty electric lines, did not fix the leak in the gas line or gave you a dangerous space heater. If you suffer burn injuries, you need to know how to seek compensation.

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