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Fire experts share tips on how Southeast Texans can keep homes, families safe amid increase in house fires

"If you cook in the oven and there is a fire, don't open that oven up."

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — In December 2022 alone, there have been at least four house fires in Southeast Texas.

In Little Cypress, a family lost their dog in a fire that devastated their home. A fire in Bridge City left a family displaced right before the holidays

A house fire in Mauriceville left a man injured, and a recent fire in Lumberton completely destroyed a home.

The holidays have been a busy time for area firefighters. The dangerous happenings have brought about concern, so firefighters are sharing tips on how Southeast Texans can keep their homes and families safe.

“During the holiday season, the biggest uptick is space heaters, you know, space heaters being too close to other objects that can catch fire," Captain Joshua Resweber with the Port Arthur Fire Department said.

From fires that start in kitchens, to space heaters igniting and destroying homes, first responders have seen it all. Cap. Resweber believes it is important to keep tools nearby to avoid disaster.

"The important thing about a stove fire, if you cook in the oven and have a fire, don't open that oven up," Capt. Resweber. "Not unless you have a fire extinguisher or call the fire department.”

For those who are having family come over and entertaining guests for the holidays, Fire Chief Greg Benson stressed the importance of having a fire safety plan.

“People should have a plan, you know,” Chief Benson said. “Especially if you are going to have family members from here and here, and everybody's going to come over."

To keep the Southeast Texas community as safe as possible, first responders run drills daily to keep their fire safety skills fresh.

“Everything you do with the fire department is a diminishing skill,” Capt. Resweber said. “Basically, if you don't review your skill every 60 to 90 days, you loose that skill. So today, we are running drills on firefighter survival so these are techniques on when firefighters could find themselves in trouble."

Experts also suggest that Southeast Texans have a fire extinguisher at their residence and have all their important documents in a folder ready to go. 

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