WATERLOO – Calls to Waterloo’s fire department increased in 2017, and kitchen fires were the most common call when it came to fires.

Crews with Waterloo Fire Rescue were sent to 256 actual fires last year, 56 of which were cooking fires or fires that started in the kitchen area, according to recently released fire department statistics. Of the 56 fires, 12 spread and caused structural damage to the buildings, and 44 were confined to the stove or oven.

Vehicle fires accounted for 45 calls last year, and there were 37 calls for fires involving grass, brush and trees. There were 24 trash and rubbish fires and another 14 fires in dumpsters and other trash containers.

The city had two fires death in 2017. Luong Quang Le, 44, died in a fire at his East Ridgeway Avenue home Jan. 24, and Robert Smiley, 63, died in a Dec. 30 fire at his home on Madison Street. No cause has been determined for either fire, but officials said there were no signs of foul play.

“In both those cases, the homes were deficient in smoke detectors — either no battery, dead battery or there weren’t enough detectors throughout the home,” said Chris Ferguson, the city’s fire marshal. “It’s good to have them, but you also have to have them where you need them.”

The city fire marshal was called to investigate 21 fire incidents. Of those, seven were determined to have been intentionally set. About 75 percent involved a flammable fluid, according to lab analysis of samples collected at the scenes. Two involved lighting paper, clothing or debris on fire.

A June 29 spree where one person allegedly set fire to four vacant houses and one business counted as one incident in the fire department’s statistics.

In all, Waterloo Fire Rescue was dispatched to 11,027 calls last year, compared to 10,551 the year before, a 4 percent climb. That represented a 13 percent rise compared to four years ago. The vast majority of the calls — 83 percent — involved a medical response, according to the numbers.

0
0
0
0
0

Police and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Courier

Load comments