It's one of the things we hope will never happen to us, having our home go up in flames, but certain homes in the La Crosse area are more likely to catch fire than others.
In his more than 25 years with the La Crosse Fire Department, Assistant Chief Warren Thomas said the types of house fires happening have changed.
“We're not seeing fires started by kids anymore, it's a lot to do with old appliances (and) electrical wiring," said Thomas.
Thomas estimated roughly 85 percent of fires in the past few years happened to homes valued at $150,000 or less.
These homes tend to be older and bring structural challenges.
Thomas said the families living in the homes often can't make the necessary repairs.
“Poverty level, low income and low wages results in the lower housing and the lower income, which results in older equipment and things not being repaired, (that) sometimes tends to lead to fires,” said Thomas.
Homes valued at $150,000 or less account for about 90 percent of the housing stock in La Crosse.
Andrew Londre, a member of the Neighborhood Revitalization Commission said the city is limited in the help it can provide.
“The city, of course, has a housing replacement program, but there's only so many houses that the city can replace on their own through this program,” said Londre.
Londre said there needs to be more assistance and incentives to replace and renovate old homes in the city.
“What we need to do, and what the city needs to continue to do, is to work to provide a more attractive environment for people who want to replace properties in La Crosse that are really low in value and are really old,” said Londre.
But in the meantime Thomas said taking preventative measures can also help.
“Simple fire safety tips, (like) not putting extension cords for permanent wiring, and not using the plug in where you've got four different things going into one-two plug outlet, and you're overloading that circuit, and creating a hot-wire inside of that wall, which could start the insulation or anything else on fire,” said Thomas.
Thomas said he also sees an increase in fires for single family homes particularly with single parents.
He said often times parents may be juggling one or two jobs as well as taking care of the home and kids, making it difficult to remember fire safety.
By state statute, the fire department is only required to do routine inspections commercial properties.
Thomas urges anyone with question on home safety tips to contact the fire department at (608) 789-7260 or on the fire department’s website.