South Bend Fire Department urges citizens to stay safe ahead of upcoming Memorial Day weekend

NOW: South Bend Fire Department urges citizens to stay safe ahead of upcoming Memorial Day weekend

SOUTH BEND, Ind – The South Bend Fire Department has labeled 10 fires as suspicious in the first few months of 2023.

South Bend Firefighters have responded to 58 structure fires already this year, surpassing the numbers this time last year.

“These fires have been of suspicious nature and are still under investigation,” said South Bend Fire Chief Buchanon.

Officials also say a lot of these fires start in vacant homes.

“There that want to take up residence in some of these vacant structures and the nights can get a little cool and people start to tend to want to start some fires there to keep warm,” said Buchanon.

To prevent further fires and ensure public safety, the department is urging residents to take the necessary precautions, particularly as we approach the Memorial Day weekend, where many people like to grill.

“We are pleading with the public to do it as safely as possible make sure that your grilles or your barbecue pits are not close to any residential structures or storage sheds or garages,” said Buchanon. “The wind will cause the fires that you are cooking your food on to possibly commit to one of those structures and then you will have an unfortunate incident where the fire department will have to respond,” he said.

South Bend has a strict no burn ordinance in effect and bonfires are not allowed.

If you have a fire pit, it must comply with state law.

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski pleaded with citizens about firearm safety for the upcoming holiday weekend.

“We don’t want celebratory gunfire on Memorial Day, why people do that is beyond me,” he said.

Ruskowski also added that fireworks are not permitted within the city limits during Memorial Day weekend.

“There's nothing like memorizing a holiday season with an unfortunate incident, being whether fire related or some other means,” said Chief Buchanon.

Fire Chief Carl Buchanon is urging residents who see any suspicious fire activity to say something and call 911.

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