Weekend fires in Jackson connected to recent cold snap, officials say

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While warmer weather is returning this week in Mississippi, winter is just getting started. Fire officials said a string of weekend fires in Jackson are connected to the recent cold snap.

Some homes that burned were abandoned in some cases. Officials said homeless individuals are responsible for abandoned homes going up in flames.

“They set these fires trying to keep warm, trying to keep mosquitoes at bay or insects at bay. If that fire gets out of control, they don’t have the necessary means to extinguish that fire,” said Division Fire Chief Cleotha Sanders, with the Jackson Fire Department.

The cold snap didn’t just affect those without a home.

“The problem you run into, we have a lot of cold nights, and we’ve had a lot of cold nights in the last seven days, and most people are just trying to stay warm,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney.

Chaney encouraged Mississippians to take proper precautions in case there is a fire in their home. They should get a fire extinguisher, smoke detectors and create an escape plan.

“A lot of people do not have the right equipment to stay warm, and they’ll often use electric heaters and cheap extension cords. Don’t buy cheap extensions cords that’s just a recipe for dying in a fire,” he stated.

Chaney continued, “Be very aware that your first responders are out there working for you trying to save your life and the lives of your friends and save the property of those that you love.”

For those living next to blighted homes, Jackson firefighters said if you see something unusual, call the police.

“Chief James Davis of the Jackson Police Department, he has a saying where he says, ‘When you see something, say something.’ So in regards to abandoned houses in your community, you know we ask the public, when you see someone at a house that doesn’t belong there it’s an abandoned house or it’s a vacant home you know call 911,” said Sanders.

Authorities also said neighbors should be aware of lights on their Christmas trees or candles.

Chaney said if you’re in need of a smoke detector, call your local fire department. They will also be available to help create an escape plan for you and your family.

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