Channel 3 Investigates: Fire dangers inside your home - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


Channel 3 Investigates: Fire dangers inside your home

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Three local families opened their doors to Chattanooga Fire Captain Chuck Hartung and Channel 3's cameras to find out how to better fire proof their homes. 

All three had working smoke detectors but Hartung said one stood out as a safer option, showing us it's power source and ability to alert other alarms. 

It's a more pricey option at about $30 a piece but worth the investment. 

"They have power on them from the electricity of the house but they also have a battery backup. If this one goes off outside the kitchen, it alerts the bedroom," Hartung said. 

The kitchen is one of two places where most fires start. For that reason, Hartung is concerned by the decorative stop top covers in this home. 

"What they don't show is if the stove top is one or if someone has just done some cooking and they lay this cover over the top of it, they may lay something on top of it that is combustible not know there there's heat generating out of there and it can cause a fire that way too," he added. 

Fire departments routinely remind homeowners to keep things away from space heaters this time of year but our investigation revealed those same dangers exist with wall heaters. 

Hartung was quick to notice a couch and towel rack too close to the heaters in another home. 

"If it gets cold enough in here, that heater is going to turn on and if somebody's not here, this being within three feet of the heater, this could get to its combustion temperature and actually ignite," he said. 

Overloaded power strips are also common. We found this one in a home we visited. 

"If you're going to need that many spaces, it's best to use an outlet strip that has a breaker. There's a short circuit in that electronic that terminates at the outlet strip and doesn't let that outlet get overheated and have a potential fire," he said. 

There are also less obvious fire hazards your home may be trying to warn you about. 

If a circuit in your electrical box continues to trip, it's time to call a professional. 

"Either that circuit is being overloaded or that circuit has failed and people keep coming out and turning it back on instead of getting a licensed electrician out and looking into that, finding out where the problem is and fixing that problem," Hartung said. 

And after a storm, if you notice a difference in your lights, that's a sign to call 9-1-1 now. 

"If you have really bright lights in your house and you see a change in their illumination, getting brighter and darker that's someone you need to call the fire department to come out and check out," he said. 

For more information about fire hazards, click here

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