Following the detection of 107 fires caused by cats, South Korean officials sent a message to pet owners in the capital, Seoul, saying: Beware, your cats may burn your homes.
The warning came at a time when the capital’s Fire and Disaster Affairs Department estimated that more than 100 fires over the past three years were caused by cats, with many of these cats managing to turn on electric stoves with their claws.
“Cases of fires caused by cats are still being reported,” Chung Jeo-chul, an official with the department, told the Korea Herald. “We advise pet owners to pay more attention, as fires can spread widely when they are not. Nobody’s home.”
According to the newspaper, 107 cases of fires started by cats were recorded between January 2019 and November 2021, and officials said that nearly half of these fires were ignited while homeowners were outside, and that in the accidents that were recorded, he was injured. 4 people, and in many cases the cats themselves did not survive.
A report published by the Washington Post by Jennifer Hosno says that pets can cause a house fire if they are left alone without safety precautions, and the report provides examples of accidents caused by cats, dogs and turtles.
The article points out that fire accidents caused by accidentally pets are not only a problem in South Korea. According to the National Fire Protection Association in the United States, nearly a thousand home fire accidents each year are caused by pets, although the It remains unclear what percentage of these fires were started by cats.
Korean officials have recommended keeping flammable objects – such as paper towels – away from cooking stoves, to help prevent such accidents.
Experts recommend closing the stove knobs (the ignition control feature), or using protective covers on the stove’s control panel. Cats – according to the article – can take a starring role in setting home fires.
Cats are heroes too
The article mentions an incident in Canada in which a cat woke its owners in the early hours of the morning while their house was burning in February 2017. Officials reported that the cat made its way into the bedroom and bit the owner’s arm while the fire was burning.
Thanks to a shot that alerted the family of the fire that broke out in their home early in the morning, Grand Prairie County Fire Chief Trevor Grant said the family fled the house without injury.
According to the article, cats are not the only pets that made firefighters rush home because of the fires. The article cites a BBC report on a fire incident caused by a turtle, on Christmas Day 2019 in Essex, England, where this 45-year-old tortoise hit a heat lamp on its bed, and then caught fire while its owners were outside the home. As the thick smoke rose, neighbors called 911, who rescued the turtle and put out the flames.
The report continued, listing the incidents of fires caused by pets, saying: In the same month, in Essex County as well, a dog that was left alone lit a house fire by operating the microwave in which there were pieces of bread, and the owner of the house was alerted through an application installed on his phone, and he succeeded Firefighters in to prevent the spread of fire, the dog was not hurt.
Subsequently, officials cautioned people to avoid storing materials inside the devices, and to ensure that smoke alarms are installed in the home.