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Massachusetts fire officials urge home heating safety with energy prices rising

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With energy prices expected to skyrocket this winter, local fire officials are urging home heating safety for residents who plan to use fireplaces, wood stoves and other solid fuel heating appliances at home.

Massachusetts fire officials issued this home heating safety reminder after recent reports showing a major jump in oil, natural gas and electricity prices during this winter heating season.

Officials expect that more people will use a fireplace, wood stove or other solid fuel to heat their homes this winter.

“We want everyone to keep warm and keep safe,” State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said. “If you’re burning wood, pellets or coal, we recommend having your chimney and flue professionally inspected and cleaned first.

“When burning, use a screen to keep embers inside and keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away on all sides,” he added. “And when you’re done, remember that ashes can stay hot for days. When disposing of them, shovel them into a metal bucket with a metal lid and place it outside on the ground away from the home, porch and garage.”

Firefighters respond to increased heating-related fires, injuries and carbon monoxide incidents every year in the fall and winter months.

Home heating equipment is the second-leading cause of residential fires and the primary source of carbon monoxide in the home, according to officials.

Home heating equipment causes about 1,400 residential fires each year in Massachusetts, including two fires that claimed three lives last year.

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