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Fire calls remain minimal despite weather conditions

Published 7:44pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Dowagiac Fire Department was surprised by the lack of calls Wednesday and Thursday after expecting a surge of blazes due to celebratory fireworks.

The Fourth of July had many fire departments on their toes this year after severe heat and dry conditions threatened fire at every turn.

While many communities received frequent calls for grass fires, some related to fireworks, Dowagiac’s department received one call Wednesday and one call Thursday morning for grass fires on nonresidential properties.

“Very honestly, we were prepared to have more calls for fires, especially related to fireworks use,” Fire Chief Guy Evans said Thursday.

“I’m surprised.”

Wednesday’s call detailed a grass fire near the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

According to Evans, the fire spread quickly due to wind but didn’t cause any damage to the building.

“There weren’t any fireworks debris or products in the area, so we’re not sure what caused it,” Evans said.

The same reasoning also applied to the Thursday morning call, which involved a grass fire on the side of Oak and McOmber streets.

“Again, there wasn’t any evidence of fireworks there,” Evans said.

Though calls seem to be few and far between, Evans urged residents to adhere to the heat advisory warnings and stay hydrated.

He also cautioned residents who are using window air-conditioning units to check outlets, plugs and placements of the unit.

“We responded to a call two days ago of an electrical fire in a home where the outlet with a window unit overheated,” Evans said.

“Whether the plug was loose or ill-fitting, residents should check their units.”

Evans said, with air conditioners running almost non-stop, outlets and units can overheat if they are not plugged in properly or cleaned thoroughly.

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