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Huntsville City Fire & Rescue sees uptick in fires since start of 2021

The department has responded to five incendiary fires over the last two weeks.
Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 9:49 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Since the start of 2021, Huntsville City Fire & Rescue has seen a slight uptick in fires, varying in size, location and type.

According to Huntsville Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson, the department has responded to about 10 more calls up to this point in 2021 compared to last year at this time. What has been most surprising is the increase in incendiary, or intentionally set fires this year. Over the last two weeks, the department has responded to five incendiary fires.

You might remember last year, the city saw a rash of arsons all targeting one specific area. But that’s not the case in 2021. The five incendiary fires in the last two weeks have been spread out across town and don’t appear to be connected at this time.

Wilkerson provided some updates on a couple fires WAFF covered over the past two weeks. Most recently, the fire on the Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School playground. Wilkerson confirmed it was intentional and HPD is investigating the intent.

As for the business fire at 84 Lumber last Wednesday, Wilkerson confirmed it was also intentional and that HPD is investigating.

No matter the time or place, Wilkerson encourages community members to be observant and look out for each other.

“A lot of times when fires happen they can be very distracting. You have to pay attention to the people that are around at that time. Vehicles...Especially if you haven’t seen them in your neighborhood before. So we just ask people to be on the lookout for that and if they do have any information on any fires to feel free to call us at 256-427-5150 and we will take the information and follow-up with it,” Wilkerson said.

Again, if you have any information Wilkerson encourages you to call 256-427-5150.

Wilkerson said as we approach the warmer months of the year, there should be fewer home fires. However, there is usually an uptick in outside fires.

“You may have people trying to burn brush, which is illegal in the city of Huntsville. People are using outdoor fire pits, using tiki torches, all the outdoor stuff,” Wilkerson said.

In addition to those common hazards, many people may be cleaning out their fireplaces from the winter season. According to Wilkerson, even if haven’t used your fireplace in a week, you need to be cautious when disposing of the residue because it could still start a fire.

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