CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Charleston Fire Department says they’ve seen a big increase in structure fires since West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued the stay-in-place order March 24.
In just those three weeks, Charleston Fire has battled 12 structure fires which is more than double the number of fires they had this time last year.
“That is a roughly 200% increase if you were to extrapolate that out for the rest of the year. We average about 100-120 fires a year. We’re now sitting on pace to reach 200 if we keep these levels up,” Charleston Fire Marshal, Capt. Corey Miller says.
Three of those 12 structure fires were ruled arson, resulting in one death and one injury. Those fires were accidental due to cooking fires.
“Don’t use your grill near the home, don’t leave a fire unintended, have a portable fire extinguisher ready just in case it would happen to catch fire and don’t add any water to any grease fire,” Miller says.
The City of Charleston and the fire department install free smoke detectors for its residents, which they say can slow this dramatic increase and help save lives.
If you would like to have smoke detectors installed, call (304) 348-8058.