Alabama city sees spike in fires across October, some arson

Published 6:25 am Monday, November 1, 2021

An Alabama city says it’s seeing more fires than usual this year, with eight fires in one week in October.

The Gadsden Fire Department responded to more than 10 structure fires across October — during National Fire Safety Month, Chief Wil Reed told The Gadsden Times.

Reed said the city has seen 18 to 20 structure fires above normal numbers for this time of year, with the busier season for fire calls yet to come. Typically, the fire department sees its fire calls increase during the Christmas and New Year’s seasons, the chief said.
Cooking incidents and extension cords are frequent fire causes.

“People need to be very careful and not leave unattended items on the stove,” Reed said.

During the eight-fire week in October, Gadsden Fire Marshal Jason Talton said three were kitchen fires.

But other fires were arson and are under investigation, with no injuries. Talton said most were in vacant houses. He said one October fire resulted in a 58-year-old man being charged with second-degree arson in what officials believe started from a domestic dispute.