Kenny Battaglia recently bought a rental home in Utica, and has been working to make sure everything is up to code. He says because of that he doesn’t think much about having a fire, but is very concerned about finding a good tenant.
"A bad tenant first of all they destroy the house, they don’t pay the rent, you have to pay legal fees to get them out, isn’t that enough.
It’s often the tenant that causes a house fire, so Battaglia uses an agency to find good tenants.
"I find it’s best to go through an agency. I use the apartment connection. They do a background check. They do a credit check. They check with the last landlord, and I haven’t had a bad tenant with them."
Even the best tenants make mistakes, that’s why the Utica Fire Department makes routine inspections to multi-unit apartments. Having fire and carbon monoxide detectors is obvious, and replacing the batteries regularly is a must, but Utica Fire Chief James Barefoot says the fire department has to check for other things as well.
"We’re looking for other safety issues like lose hand rails, we’re looking for steps that are loose or broken, you know things that basically things where people can get hurt."
Utica Fire Marshal Ray Centolella tells us candles, food left on the stove, and electrical issues are some of the major causes of fire, but most house fires are preventable.
"A lot of times when they say electrical, most of the time when it’s electrical, something has been overloaded."
State Farm Agent State Farm Agent says if you’re a renter you can take steps to protect your personal property, and even your finances.
"For the price of a pizza a month you could get renters insurance that is going to cover your personal property, clothing, furniture, things like that. Appliances, TV’s, also it provides you with liability coverage, so in the unfortunate situation you may be responsible for a kitchen fire or something like that, you got protection."
Chief Barefoot says many fires are spread while attempting to put them out, so he recommends taking the following steps for everyone’s safety.
"You have an issue call the fire department immediately. Call 9-1-1. Give them the information they need. Insure that you’re evacuating the house. Get everybody out. Don’t stop for personal possessions, they can be replaced, human bodies can’t. We always tell people that. We can’t stress that enough."