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Causes of Fire


  • Do not overload extension cords or run them under rugs.
  • If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again.
  • Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed.
  • Do not tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.


  • Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Oxford had a tragic fire in April 2005 where three Miami University students died. The fire investigation determined that smoldering ashes in a couch started the fire.
  • Provide smokers with large, deep non-tip ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them.
  • Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.

Space Heaters

  • Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet from flammables. Oxford had an apartment fire in fall 2005 that was caused by a bedskirt being too close to a floor heater.
  • Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.


  • Be especially careful with the use of candles. Never go to sleep or leave the unit with a candle burning. Check your lease, some landlords don’t allow burning candles in their units.


  • Do not cook using the oven or stovetop if you are tired or have consumed alcohol.
  • Do not leave food on stovetop unattended.
  • Keep flammable items away from your stovetop while cooking.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas and kills without warning. Some sources of carbon monoxide are fuel-fired furnaces, gas water heaters, generators, gas stoves, charcoal grills, lawnmowers and cars.

Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • irritability
Purchase a carbon monoxide detector, found in stores that have home improvement departments,s to protect yourself from poisoning.

If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately and call for assistance.