Simple checkup can prevent house fire

October is Fire Prevention Month across the nation, and Laurel and Jones County officials are taking steps to make sure you don't become a statistic.

As seasons change and summer turns into fall, homeowners turn off the air conditioners and on come the heaters. But whether it's gas, electric or the fireplace, they all can be dangerous.

That's why fire officials are urging folks to check their smoke detectors. And the Laurel Fire Department is providing 200 of them to needy families. Those devices were given to the city through the State Health Department, says Chief Steve Russell.

Jones County Public Information Officer Lance Chancellor says residents should inspect their heating systems. During the summer months, when the systems are not being used, dust builds up, he says — that's why you often smell burning dust when you switch the heat on the first time. A heavy enough buildup could present a fire hazard, Chancellor says.