By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fires have been breaking out all over Philadelphia this year, so many that the city’s fire commissioner has issued a call to action.

The early January house fire that killed a resident and a firefighter signaled the start of a troubling trend for the city. A 4-alarm fire in Old City and a 3-alarm blaze that a gutted a commercial building in Southwest Philadelphia were headline grabbers. But Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel says his force is responding to an average of seven fires per day.

“We’re on pace with what we believe the final outcome is gonna be is to have half as many fire deaths already in 2018 as we had in all of 2017,” Thiel said. “That’s a troubling trend for us.”

Last year 21 people died in fires. Thiel is urging residents to be cautious.

“Causes of fires are typically cooking, heating, carelessly discarded smoking materials, electrical,” he explained. “So don’t overload the outlets, make sure you’re using cords that are not frayed or in any way damaged. And then make sure you have a smoke and make sure that smoke alarm works.”

You can pick up a smoke alarm simply by dialing 311. The Philadelphia Fire Department received a $1 million federal grant last year to install 30,000 smoke alarms in the city.

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