SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) — Since January, more than 85 people in our state have died in house fires.
A new study finds Illinois ranks fourth in the nation for states with the most fatal house fires.
For some, fire safety hits close to home.
"We'd had a loss in the family some years ago due to a fire,” Springfield resident Milton Johnson said. “So we normally go through, check our smoke detectors twice a year, as recommended. We follow up and make sure everybody knows how we're getting out of the house, should something happen.”
The study finds the biggest causes of fatal fires are smoking, cooking and electrical malfunctions.
"Smoking materials not fully extinguished. Other times, it's people dissuading cigarettes outside in dry leaves,” Springfield Fire Chief Allen Reyne said. “We've got the fall coming up - that can be a problem."
If you are a smoker, firefighters said to put cigarettes out in water or an ash tray.
Even though Illinois ranks high in the study, firefighters said their busy season, winter, hasn't even hit.
"Really, we want three to four feet around those space heaters. You know, combustibles and if you have pets and something gets pushed up against there,” Chief Reyne said.
The biggest thing is to be prepared, so that if a fire happens in your home, you don't lose your life.
"I definitely think they ought to check their smoke detectors. It's the first line of defense if it's coming in and you don't visually see it, at least you can hear that,” Milton said. “The second is always check the stove, especially in today's society. You put things on, you have ovens with timers. So it's worth that extra check."