BILLINGS — While some string lights around their home for the holidays and some prepare festive family meals, everyone should be aware of potential fire dangers around this time of year.
According to the Billings Fire Department, last year between December 2019 and February of 2020, Yellowstone County fire departments responded to 70 structure fires.
Tyrone Morgan, Billings deputy fire marshal, said Thursday afternoon that 20 of those turned out to be actual fires with smoke, fire and damage.
Morgan said it is important that people are cognizant of potential dangers when hooking up holiday lights.
“We always want to look at our lights, look at our decorations, look for torn or broken cords, loose bulb connections. We want to replace those items if we can,” said Morgan.
Along with checking for faulty wiring, Morgan reminds Billings residents to service their heating equipment.
“Service our chimney, service our furnaces, be mindful when we use portable space heaters. Any kind of portable heat item. Heating your home is one of the common causes of fires,” said Morgan.
Preparing and cooking food is a big part of holiday festivities, but Morgan said it is one of the common causes of home fires. He said people should avoid distractions while cooking that cause you to walk away leaving a hot stove unattended.
Nicholas Lambert, owner and CEO of Faithful Disaster Restoration in Billings, said Thursday morning that when it comes to fire restoration projects, cooking-related fires are the common culprit.
“It never fails, you have a pot on the stove and Christmas is such a busy holiday season already. The phone rings and somebody takes off to answer the phone. They come back to the kitchen and it's already ignited, causing damage to their kitchen. People don't realize it but kitchen fires can go up very quickly," said Lambert.