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Prevent your pet from accidentally starting a fire

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Thousands of people lose their lives in home fires each year. The National Fire Protection Agency said several of those fires are started by an unlikely culprit, pets.

"What the statistics say from the National Fire Association is that there are actually around 1,000 fires every year that are caused by the animal themselves," said Austin Fire Chief Thayer Smith.

About 500,000 pets are affected by home fires every year. Smith showed us what common household items can pose fire danger. The first suggestion was to remove stove knobs.

"Remove these during the time that you're gone and they simply just pull off and you can just leave them there and there's nothing for the animal to bump," said Smith.

"Not having anything on top of your stove would be just fine as well," Smith added.

The National Fire Protection Association said the majority of home fires are caused by cooking equipment. Smith said storing items in the oven can be very dangerous.

"This would be something certainly we wouldn't recommend even if you don't have pets," said Smith.

Candles are another common fire hazard.

"A candle will get knocked over and if it is near a combustible then again you have a raging fire and again the recommendation is that you not have any open flame of any kind around your animal," Smith said.

Fire officials said you should opt for a flameless candle instead. There are other precautions you can take in case a fire does occur; only cage an animal near a doorway where firefighters will easily see it when they enter, make sure you have a working smoke detector, keep animals away from any loose wires and put a barrier around your fireplace.

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