MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- Within minutes fire investigators say oil heating on your stove can turn into a full blown blaze.
Macon-Bibb County Fire Lieutenant Ellen Kicklighter says cooking fires are the most common in our area because people tend to start cooking, then walk away.
"Lately it's been about two to three per week," said Kicklighter.
In late June two happened in one weekend. Kicklighter says a home on Bloomfield Avenue was burned extensively and a 19-year-old died in a house fire on Mafiel Drive.
"The lady was heating oil on the stove walked outside, and forgot about it," said Kicklighter.
Kicklighter named electrical fires and arson as two more leading causes in our area.
As far as preventable blazes, Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said cooking, leaving flammable items near heat, and smoking round out his top three.
"Trends are leading towards that the most recent fatality we had, there was probably a good incident of smoking was involved," said Riggins.
Whatever the cause, Kicklighter and Riggins say broken smoke detectors, and peopl getting caught in a blaze without a plan of action are two reasons why some don't make it out.
Riggins believes that was the case for the Williams children who died in a Macon house fire in late February.
"We found all the kids you know, hidden behind the bed in another bedroom in the home right next to a window, how ironically," said Riggins.
Riggins says in addition to having working smoke detectors, an exit strategy and a meeting place once you're out, are key.
"It is saddening to me as the chief, and to all the firefighters when you see lives lost that could have easily been prevented, well at least to us could have been easily prevented," said Riggins.
If you need help installing or checking a smoke detector in your home, call the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department at (478) 751-9180.