SAN ANTONIO — The city is experiencing a spike in structure fires.
In 2023, more than a dozen large fires have damaged homes, apartments and businesses. One person was critically injured in a fire, and a firefighter was hurt in a separate incident.
With cooler nights this week, officials are urging people to check their alarms and make an escape plan.
“Our number of fires do tend to go up this time of year,” said Joe Arrington, a spokesperson for the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD).
According to the National Association of State Fire Marshals, more house fires are sparked in the winter than any other season. Cooking is the leading cause, followed by heating equipment.
Arrington says most fires are preventable.
“We are preaching the safety message right now,” he said. “The biggest thing we always talk about is the safety S.C.A.N.”
SAFD recently released this video in English and Spanish.
“The key takeaway from this is things are replaceable,” said Arrington, “people are not.”
Arrington says space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall and kept at least three feet from all objects. Generators should be placed outside at least 20 feet from windows and doors.
“Never ever heat your home with your stove or oven,” he said. “If it’s a gas appliance, you are not only risking a fire, but you could get carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Arson is being investigated in a church fire, and one of the fires this year was started at a vacant property.
However, Arrington says there’s a lot that residents can do to put a freeze in winter fires.
“We are here for you, but we don’t want to meet you on your worst day,” he said.