Ordinary items that could start your house on fire

This year has been a tragic one for fires in Minnesota.  As of the middle of November, 46 people have lost their lives. That compares to 44 in all of 2014.

There are several everyday things in a house people don't realize can cause fires. With the help of St. Paul Fire Investigator, Jamie Novak and the Coon Rapids Fire D0epartment the Fox 9 Investigators put together a blue print to help you avoid disaster.


-Do not use incompatible computer batteries and chargers. If unsure about whether a replacement battery or charger is compatible, contact the product manufacturer. 

-Do not use your computer on soft surfaces, such as a sofa, bed or carpet, because it can restrict airflow and cause overheating.

-Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys or jewelry.

-Do not crush, puncture or put a high degree of pressure on the battery as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.

-Avoid dropping or bumping the computer. Dropping it, especially on a hard surface, can cause damage to the computer and battery. If you suspect damage contact the manufacturer.

-Do not place the computer in areas that may get very hot.

-Do not get your computer or battery wet. Even though they will dry and appear to operate normally, the circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard.

-Follow battery usage, storage and charging guidelines found in the user's guide.


-Stay near a toaster when in use. bread and pop tarts can get stuck and start a fire.

-Do not leave items that can burn near a toaster.

-Do not leave toasters plugged in.

Clothes Dryers:

-Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don't forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.

-Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.

-Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.

-Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.

-Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.

-Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.

-Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.

-Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.

-If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.

-Don't leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.

Stain/oil-soaked rags:

One of the best ways for residents to properly dispose of their used stain/oil filled rags is to do the following:

-Take the stain/oil soak rags outside.

-Spread the rags into a single layer so heat dissipates while the material cures. The time it takes to cure can vary considerably depending on humidity, temperature, and the finish used. An oily rag has cured when it becomes hard and brittle.

-Soak in water and then discard into the trash.

Properly dispose of ashes or coals:

If possible, allow ashes and coals to cool in the area where you had the fire for at least 7 days. These devices are designed to contain their heat safely.

When it is time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
Keep the metal container outside your home and away from any combustibles until the refuse is hauled away.

-Do not place any other combustibles in the metal container.

-Do not use a combustible container.

Night lights:

-Keep bedding and pillows away from incandescent night lights.

-Use night lights with LED bulbs.

Sun as a Source:

And this time of the year when the sun hangs low in the sky, keep things like bottles, snow globes and mirrors away from direct sunlight. There have been fires where items like these have started fires.