The following is an editorial from the Wilton Fire Department‘s fire marshal, Rocco Grosso.

In just over one month the State of Connecticut has seen an alarming increase in fatal fires. “Since late February, there have been eight separate fatal fires in our state,” says William Abbott, Connecticut’s State fire marshal, “and this is in addition to numerous other fires where individuals are injured.” The communities of New Britain, North Branford, Bloomfield, Oxford, Shelton, Killingly, Somers and Windham have all seen fatal fires in the past month resulting in 11 resident deaths.

Typically, winter is the worst season for fires due to reliance on heating systems and use of supplemental heaters, so the number of deadly fires this late in the season is somewhat rare. The Connecticut Office of the State Fire Marshal, in partnership with the Connecticut Fire Academy and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection ask that you and your family review these simple fire safety rules:

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they are working properly.
  • Have an escape plan with a meeting place, and practice it. Each room in your house should have two ways out.
  • Once you exit your home, do not return. Too many people lose their lives going back into a burning home.
  • Have your entire heating system checked for proper operation annually.
  • If you or anyone in your home smokes, be extra careful with smoking materials as they are the most common cause of fatal house fires in the US.

It’s also a good idea to check on any elderly relatives or neighbors to make sure their smoke detectors are working. If you need any assistance with checking your detectors contact the Wilton Fire Department or Fire Marshal’s office. If everyone follows these safety rules, we can dramatically reduce the incidence of fires in our state and prevent family tragedies.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the Department of Administrative Services and is responsible for assisting the Connecticut State Police with investigation of fires in the state of Connecticut. The Connecticut Fire Academy is the teaching arm of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. Part of their mission is educating the public in fire and burn prevention.

The Wilton Fire Department can be reached at 203.834.6247.