With the significant drop in temperatures comes an uptick in cold-related fires in Maine.
State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas says his office has been notified about at least a dozen incidents over this past three-day weekend. Thomas says a number of the incidents involve alternative heating measures, such as wood stoves and space heaters, or people trying to thaw pipes.
“In one case we saw a fire started by a wood stove. What apparently happened was that the wall behind the wood stove caught fire. To me that indicates insufficient clearance of the wood stove from the combustible wall surface,” he says.
Thomas says, first and foremost, people should make sure their alternative heating sources are safe to use and that they are far enough away from combustibles.
“And I say 3 feet is not bad to use in any type of circumstance,” he says.
Thomas says, adding to the fire danger is the fact that, during this extended cold spell, people are using wood stoves and other sources of heat just as hard as they can.