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Multi-tasking blamed for increase in home fires

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:33 PDT, Tue May 19, 2020

Last Updated: 10:38 PDT, Thu May 21, 2020

An increase in house fires is being attributed in part to more people staying home due to COVID-19.

Richmond Fire-Rescue average about 30 “fire situations” each month, says city representative Clay Adams. But since the pandemic, they have seen a 30 per cent increase in incidents.

Fire-Rescue chief Tim Wilkinson says one reason for the increase is people multi-tasking at home—putting something on the stove to cook and becoming distracted by another chore or task.

“Inattention typically leads to additional fires,” he says.

Wilkinson adds that outdoor fires are often caused by cigarette butts, particularly with warm weather returning. The city is putting together a public education program to reduce fires called “Stick it, don’t flick it.”

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