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More than 30 fire-related deaths in Ontario in first three months of 2021

Officials in Waterloo want residents to take precautions
Fire hose. Photo/ iStock

2021 is proving to be a deadly year for fires in Ontario.

As of March 2, there were 32 fire-related fatalities in the province. 

This past Monday, four people were killed in a house fire in Oshawa, including two children. 

"Also this week in Bradford West Gwillimbury, they had an apartment building on the 5th floor where 11 people were injured - four critically,"  said John Percy, Public Information Officer with Waterloo Fire Rescue.

Percy called the recent incidents sad and unfortunate. 

"So it's really important as we're doing our spring cleaning, to please, make sure all your smoke alarms work and test them," said Percy. "Smoke alarms are your early warning against a fire in your home."

Percy said you also need to make sure your alarms aren't expired, and conduct a fire drill with your family. 

From indoors, to outdoors; another recent issue in Ontario is a rise in grass fires. 

"We are seeing an increase in grass fires. If you look outside, you can tell we're in the early parts of spring - the challenge with that is that the grass and soil are super dry still. If a fire does start, it adds fuel to it and it will spread quickly with the winds."

On Monday, crews were on scene of two separate grass fires in the Courtland Avenue and Overland Drive area of Kitchener, and police implemented multiple road closures. 

There was also a fire on the side of Highway 401 eastbound through Puslinch on Wednesday afternoon. 

Percy said grass fires are fairly common for this time of the year, and one of the leading causes is smoking. 

"If you are smoking outside, please do not dispose of or throw away your cigarette into the grass or soil. Put them in a proper, non-flammable container that won't burn."

He added residents should also take precautions when it comes to outdoor cooking, like keeping any BBQ appliance off the grass. 

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