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Charlottesville Area Seeing More Fires, Officials Suggest Closing Doors

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

It was a busy month of May for first responders in Charlottesville. Emergency crews were called out to an average of three fires a month since January. The month of May had 10 fires.

Officials say there's one thing home and business owners can do to potentially help reduce damage from a fire: “So doors being closed acts as a fire barrier for preventing smoke, gasses, and the heat and flames from penetrating into a bedroom or another room,” said Charlottesville Fire Captain Joe Phillips.

Closing the doors at night and when you're away might be hard on pets, but it could help save their lives.

“So the door will stop the fire and hold it back for - a normal residential door - about 10-15 minutes,” Phillips said.

It is believed that a door saved Rhett's Bar and Grill in Albemarle County from interior fire damage. A door also prevented a Stanardsville woman's garage and cars from burning along with the rest of her home in May.

Phillips also adds people shouldn't worry about being trapped if a fire starts outside of a room: “The smoke alarm on the other side of the door will alert you if there's something going on, and that'll give you time to get up in a fresh environment where you can breathe and not have heat and gases in your room to figure out how to get out.”

The captain says Charlottesville has had a total of 22 structure fires this year.