CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (KCRG-TV9)-- A fire in Waterloo Sunday that killed a woman and her young child is part of a growing trend in Iowa. There's been 21 fatalities related to fires so far this year according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. That's up 10 from this time last year.
Deputy Fire Marshal with the city of Marion Shawn Fluharty says fires are more dangerous now than ever. That’s because he says there’s more things inside of a home that can make a fire spread.
He says, "That's largely because of the materials we bring into them. Pretty much all of our furniture and stuff is all made out of synthetics which are oil based."
He says most of the fires that happen are cooking related, so he wants people to be careful not to leave their food unattended for too long. The warm weather will have people out grilling. So he says people should be careful where they place their grill.
He says, "We recommend that they're at least ten feet away from any combustible structure, so house, garage, and even wood decks. A lot of people put their grills on a wood deck, and particularly with charcoal grill or lighter fluid, people get a little carried away with the lighter fluid and light their deck on fire, which then catches the house on fire."
He also says people should be careful placing lit candles next to curtains. Fluharty suggest, "The big thing with candles is we want them on something that's sturdy, won't tip over, and obviously if you leave, you go to sleep, the candles get blown out."
He says if you are in a fire, stay low and try to crawl to safety, and if you're trapped in in a room, close the door. He adds, "Even the hollow bedroom doors will hold back fire for 15-20 minutes. So if you have a fire in another part of the house, that keeps the smoke out of the bedroom or sleeping area for quite a bit of time."