The number of fire fatalities is cause for concern for Madawaska Valley, says the region’s fire chief.

Corwin Quade says that the province is heading for a record year of fatalities, with 100 people killed this year already. While the November numbers have not come in, eight people have died in the last month of that year.

Quade is warning that fires in buildings now burn eight times faster than they did 50 years ago and that people have less than a minute to escape a building when a smoke alarm sounds. He’s urging people to have a smoke alarm on every level, make sure seasoned firewood is burned in stoves, clean chimneys once a year before firing up the stove, and don’t smoke in bed.

While no fatal fires have happened in Madawaska Valley this year, the region has not been free of them. In November, one person died in a house fire in North Algona Wilberforce. The Madawaska Valley Fire Department had seen an uptick in calls during the summer months. In January, they responded to more chimney fires that month alone compared to all of 2020.