How to Prevent Garage Fires

Garage Fire – Community VFD photo

KATY (Covering Katy News) – Garage fires are not unusual in the Katy area. Even detached garage fires can cause problems in your home because the smoke and sometimes the flames follow the breezeway back into a house and spread the danger and damage.

Recently, a detached garage in Katy’s Grand Lakes subdivision caught fire. The Community Volunteer Fire Department was able to stop it from spreading to the house. Still, the garage was a total loss, according to the fire department.

“According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are an average of 6,600 garage fires in the United States each year. These fires result in 30 deaths, 400 injuries and $457 million in property loss,” said a statement on the Community VFD website.

Many garages are full of flammable materials like gasoline and paint. Many people overload their garage electrical circuit with refrigerators and power tools.

“In a typical garage, all electrical outlets are on the same circuit, and you may overwhelm a circuit breaker with tools and appliances,” said a statement on the Community VFD website. The website also offers the following tips for preventing a garage fire.

  • Do not overload electrical outlets. If the circuit breaker or your GFCI trips, have a licensed electrician out to review the cause before resetting it.
  • Do not use extension cords for permanent purposes. Make sure that your extension cord is properly rated for the device you are connecting to it.
  • Replace any damaged outlets or wiring.
  • Store any flammables such as gasoline, paint, and varnish in a shed away from your home.
  • Do not place anything that can burn next to appliances.

Another prevention method that is recommended by the Harris County Emergency Services District 48 F.D is blocking off the opening between the garage and the breezeway with plywood or wallboard. Many Katy area homes with detached garages do not have a “fire-break” between the garage and breezeway, which allows flames and smoke to move quickly from the garage into a home. Typically, wallboard or plywood is used to close off the opening and act as a fire-break. While the solution is not fireproof, it does slow flames and smoke from spreading and provides firefighters more time to extinguish the flames before they damage your home.