Garage fires caused $5 million in damage to Burlington homes


Published November 9, 2023 at 1:25 pm

fire damage garage home millions Burlingotn
Fires that started in residential garages caused $5 million in damage to Burlington homes last year.

Garage fires caused $5 million in damage to Burlington homes last year and most of them were preventable.

That is the word from the Burlington Fire Department which has seen an increase over the last year in the number of residential fires that began in the garage.

Since 2021, the fire department responded to more than 20 significant garage fires.

And, fire officials say one in every four structure fire calls received during the last year started in the garage and that faulty electricity and the storage of flammable material are mostly to blame.

“While storing power tools, gas, oil, and paint in garages is common, it heightens the risk and consequences in the event of a fire outbreak,” reads a statement released by the fire department. “This is due to the flammable and explosive components of these household items.”

The fire department estimates that garage fires caused $5 million in damage last year as well as severe injuries to several people.

In response, the fire department has issued the following guidelines.

Electrical safety:

  • Schedule an inspection of your home and garage wiring by a licensed certified electrician.
  • Plug appliances, tools, and charging devices directly into wall sockets. Unplug them when not in use.
  • Avoid using extension cords, particularly if they are old or damaged.

Lithium-ion battery products:

  • Only use devices with CSA, cUL, or cETL logos.
  • Avoid using aftermarket or “knock-off” batteries as they may not be compatible with your product or fulfill Canadian safety standards.
  • Use the original battery, charging cable, and docking station provided with the device.
  • Avoid leaving the device plugged in overnight or near exit doors.
  • Stop using the battery if you notice overheating, odours, leaks or unusual noises.

Flammable material handling:

  • Avoid letting rags spotted with paint, varnish or flammable materials pile up.
  • Store used rags in a sealed metal container filled with water and detergent.
  • Consider storing flammable substances in small quantities.

General fire safety tips:

  • Declutter your garage to eliminate potential fuel sources for fires.
  • Avoid using cooking devices, welding tools, and grinders inside the garage.
  • Smoke outside and use deep, sturdy ashtrays for cigarette disposal.
  • Explore installing a heat alarm in the garage for early fire detection.



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