Fires on the rise in Lathrup

Dangers of charging electronics emphasized

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published October 16, 2018

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LATHRUP VILLAGE — Fire Chief Johnny Menifee recently provided an update on the services the Southfield Fire Department offers to Lathrup Village. 

Menifee gave a presentation before the Lathrup Village City Council at a Sept. 24 meeting, providing statistics and safety tips. 

The city is on par for the number of medical runs it had last year, Menifee said, with 232 so far this year and a total of 351 last year. 

However, fire calls this year are on the rise, with 107 so far this year compared to 105 total last year. 

“So, the fire calls are up this year, and I attribute it to three causes right now. People are still using real candles, and that’s causing an issue for us to come out. Also, we’re still having a lot of cooking fires — people frying foods in the kitchen — and also fireplaces,” Menifee said. “This is the time of year people are getting their fireplaces up and running.” 

Menifee said he recommends using battery-operated candles, having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and cleaning the duct work on fireplaces before using them. 

Another thing that helps, Menifee said, is getting to know your neighbors. 

“I urge you to get to know your neighbors. Know if they’re home or not home, how many kids and dogs they have. That’s a real good help to us in an emergency,” he said. 

Menifee said his team has been working closely with Lathrup Village Police Chief Scott McKee. 

“We’re doing a lot of collaboration and training with Chief McKee. We’re doing CPR, automated external defibrillators, hazmat training and bloodborne pathogen training also,” Menifee said. “He’s been a great partner in public safety, and we look forward to more training.”

Councilman Ian Ferguson asked Menifee about the dangers of charging electronics. 

“Can you speak directly to the cellphone charging scenario, and also anything electronic such as laptops and all that?” Ferguson asked at the meeting. 

Menifee said it’s not safe to charge electronics on soft surfaces, such as beds. 

“What happens is the individuals walk away, and what may happen is it may cause a fire,” Menifee said. “A lot of the young adults in our community are charging their phones and sleeping with their phones under their pillow to wake them up with their alarms. That’s a bad thing. Put it on the nightstand. Do not charge your phones or your computer on your bed. It’s a very new thing that we’re seeing, and it can be deadly. That’s once again one of the reasons why you need a working smoke detector.”