Fire marshal issues winter fire prevention tips

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- The Illinois State fire marshal is urging residents to take steps this winter to avoid fires caused by cooking and heating.

In a press release Friday, Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says winter is the leading time of year for home fires.

More than 8,000 fires were reported in Illinois between December and February last year. Heating and cooking were two of the leading causes of those fires.

The fire marshal recommends families have and practice a fire escape plan and teach children how to call 911. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from space heaters and never use a stove or oven to heat a home.

Matkaitis also urges residents to always have functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

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