The Economics of House Fires

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A fire destroyed a mobile home on Tallahassee's southside Thursday, and there was another mobile home fire on December 14.

These fires are just two of more than a dozen in our viewing area. Red Cross volunteers cite several causes.

"The little space heaters, which are very much in use right now, and the faulty heating systems, stoves, candles," says volunteer Hannie Tterlikkis.

Tallahassee Fire LT Bernard Barrington says many fires occur because people can't afford central heating and air, for example.

"Basically, people aren't able to heat their home properly with utilities and the fuel costs where it's at," says Barrington.

So as a means to survive the cold, some people resort to what are considered dangerous alternatives.

"Maybe heat their home with kerosene, wood or charcoal possibly, and sometime it may be the unsafe thing to do," adds Barrington.

A fire can happen to anyone's home, but for those who can't afford adequate heating, the likelihood of a house fire increases when using alternative heating sources.

In any case, those in fire prevention say education decreases always those odds, and when heating any home, safety should always be top priority.

Barrington says if you're unsure about the safety of a particular heating source, the best thing to do is contact your local fire department.