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National analysis names West Palm Beach and Boca Raton among top 100 cities with high home fire risk

Posted at 7:41 AM, Mar 11, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-27 07:47:39-04

What homes have the highest fire risk?

According to a national analysis, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton are among the top 100 U.S. cities with the highest home fire risk.

The number one cause of fires in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton are kitchen mishaps and that's pretty standard across the country, but some risky behaviors are setting these two cities apart.

Turning on candles in her apartment is a daily routine for Jacqueline Pratt in Boca Raton.

So is charging electronics in the bedroom every night.

"I know my boyfriend always has both of his phones, his work phone and personal phone on the chargers every night," said Pratt.

But those those activities can increase the risk for a home fire.

According to a national analysis of fire reports by The Hartford, a property and casualty insurance company, 36 percent of people surveyed in Boca Raton admitted to charging an electronic device in or on their bed overnight in the past year compared to 34 percent nationally.

"You certainly don't want to charge it under your pillow or any place where the heat is going to be able to heat up," said Bob Lemons with Boca Raton Fire Rescue.

Lemons says the majority of fires his crews put out are caused by people leaving the kitchen while cooking which is another risky behavior the national analysis says is higher in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton than in most cities.

"We recommend that whenever you're cooking, you have a lid for the pot that you're using or a pan that you're using so if something does happen you quickly slide the lid over from the side and smother the fire," said Lemons.

Pratt tries to stay near the kitchen while cooking and relies on her smoke alarm, but now after hearing about The Harford's report she's thinking about the risks.

"That's scary to think about that one little mishap from myself could affect all the other 10 units that are in here, same for them if they do something like that it could affect me," added Pratt.

The Harford says it's going to donate $10,000 to school districts and $10,000 to fire departments in the cities named to support fire safety education.

West Palm Beach ranked 93rd, Boca Raton ranked 82nd among the top 100 cities named.

Other neighboring cities on the list were Hollywood (ranking 52nd), Fort Lauderdale (ranking 46th), and Miami (ranking 30th).

Going into the weekend it's important to remember when you set your clocks ahead an hour on Sunday to check the batteries on your smoke detectors as well.

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