AUSTIN (KXAN) — According to a new report, more fires are happening in people’s homes.

Residential fires have gone up 42% in the past three years based on the 2023 Fire Index from Austin-based ESO.

“ESO is a provider of records, management system and data support for fire, EMS, hospitals, state and federal partners that we have,” said ESO Senior Director of Fire Bill Gardner.

‘We’ve actually lost four or three neighbors in fires’

The Milwood neighborhood is one area in Austin that’s experienced an increase in house fires.

Meg Davis is the President of the Milwood Neighborhood Association. She said there’s been three fires in just over nine months. One of them was just up the block from her.

“Very glad and fortunate that that family got out alive. So it hit me pretty hard, because they were our, you know, close neighbors,” Davis said.

That’s why she set up an informational meeting with the Austin Fire Department Sunday to learn more fire safety tips.

Milwood Resident Meeting with Austin Fire Department sign
Dozens of residents showed up to the Milwood Resident Meeting with AFD to discuss fire safety tips. (Photo: KXAN’s Sarah Al-Shaikh)

“If it just prevents one small fire, it’s very worth it,” Davis said.

‘The fires are moving’

Gardner said the trend of where fires are occurring follows the trend of where the workplace is today.

He said when more people started working from home, more fires started happening in the middle of the day.

“We’ve seen an increased number of fires occur during what would normally be work hours when no one was at home,” Gardner.

Because of that, Gardner said there needs to be more initiatives like the one in the Milwood neighborhood to get fire departments in front of neighborhoods to answer questions.

Fire, summer safety tips

Gardner said as the summer months approach, there are several different tips households should remember.

“Make sure your grill is cold. Make sure it’s done. If you’re using propane, and you have a flare up, turn the gas off,” Gardner said. “It’ll solve itself when you’re using charcoal. Make sure you have a lid to cover it.”

He also recommended buying a fire extinguisher if you don’t already have one. When it comes to pool safety, Gardner said make sure someone is a designated person to watch children as they swim.

Austin Fire Department said to email for inquiries on residential meetings for neighborhoods.