Fire Officials: Cold Weather Brings Threat of Fires - 8 News NOW

Fire Officials: Cold Weather Brings Threat of Fires

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LAS VEGAS -- Holiday lights are twinkling across the valley. The holidays have arrived, but so have cold weather and plunging temperatures.

Fire experts warn home fires increase dramatically when people try to heat their homes for the first time during the winter season.

"The winter months are the time of year most people die in fires," Tim Szymanski with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue said.

Szymanski said the risk of fire isn't the only threat. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if a heating device malfunctions, or a homeowner doesn't properly use it.

"It's what we call the silent killer. It's tasteless, odorless, invisible. It will be absorbed by the human body two hundred times faster than the oxygen that you breathe," he said. 

Szymanski added when the weather turns cold, some people turn to unconventional ways to stay warm, such as turning on their ovens. Szymanski says that is a bad idea.

"They put out very little heat, but put out tremendous amounts of carbon monoxide, and that's a poison that will overcome you. You're actually getting more poison than you are heat," Szymanski said.

Jake Lyon with Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing said simple maintenance can ensure your heating unit works properly during the cold months. Most homeowners will crank up the heat when temperatures drop. If it's the first time you're turning it on this season, having the unit serviced can be helpful.

"Certainly if there is any kind of burning smell, turn the system off at the thermostat and call your contractor out," Lyon said. "Your filter, that is the easiest thing for most people is to every month write the date on it. Even if you buy a three-month filter, you should replace it every thirty days."

While people enjoy the holidays in their homes, fire officials said planning can prevent a tragedy.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue said space heaters can also be a popular way to stay warm, but many fires come from people misusing them.

Following the instructions and keeping the devices at least three feet way from flammable items can prevent many fires from starting.

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