Firefighters Trying to Snuff Out Surge of Fires in Hurricane Sandy-Ravaged Areas

NY Daily News - December 03, 2012

by Joe Kemp

moke eaters responded to 273 serious fires in November, about 37% more than the 200 logged in the same month last year -- a spike officials blame on the aftermath of the storm.

Firefighters are trying to snuff out a surge of fires in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged areas around the city.

Smoke eaters responded to 273 serious fires in November, about 37% more than the 200 logged in the same month last year -- a spike officials blame on the aftermath of the storm.

FDNY brass are deploying several teams of educators Monday to distribute fire-prevention information and thousands of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"The best way to put out a fire is to prevent it," FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano told the Daily News last week. "We want to make another big push as it gets colder."

Officials have already handed out more than 13,000 smoke detectors and 5,000 carbon monoxide alarms.

But, with the help of the FDNY Foundation and the fire-prevention equipment manufacturer Kidde, officials expect to give out about 20,000 more of the devices.

Cassano said the fire-safety effort will focus on the coastal sections of Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens -- the areas hardest hit when the superstorm made landfall on Oct. 29.

"I'm concerned that the colder it gets, the more people will try to use space heaters, candles and generators," Cassano said. "These were causes to a lot of fires."

FDNY data shows there have been 88 storm-related fires, 59 of which occurred in November. The blazes were caused by electrical malfunctions, unattended candles and improper use of generators.

In some cases, the fires were ignited by people without power placing objects on electric stovetops that turned on when power was restored.

Cassano said most people can prevent fires with the right information.

The FDNY is also using its official Facebook and Twitter accounts to spread fire safety tips.

"We've been doing it since the storm," he said. "But we're hitting the streets to make another big push."