Fire officials in Richmond County say most of the house fires they responded to in 2007 were caused by homeowners who weren't paying attention while they were cooking.
Richmond County had 511 house fires in 2007 -- 483 of which were caused by cooking-related incidents, according to county statistics.
"The water either boils away, pots burn or they'll leave a pot of grease unattended," said Capt. Tommy Cox, of the Augusta Fire Department. "We try to advise people to be more careful."
In Columbia County, there were 113 house fires in 2007.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Chief Doug Cooper blames unattended candles and cigarettes as chief reasons for house fires in his county.
In Aiken County, no centralized department exists and the state only tracks fires that result in fatalities.
Aiken County has 22 individual volunteer units. North Augusta and the city of Aiken have the only full-time firefighting staffs.
Capt. Charles Williams, of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, said North Augusta had 70 house fires in 2007.
He, too, listed cooking-related fires as a typical cause.
Aiken had 233 house fires in 2007, statistics show.
Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TYPICAL HOUSE FIRE CAUSES
- Faulty appliances/wiring
- Furniture, boxes or clothing placed too close to heating devices such as heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces
- Cigarettes dropped on to beds, sofas or chairs before bed
- Children playing with fire
- Homeowners failing to pay attention while cooking
Source: American Red Cross and Augusta Fire Department