Fire Department open house scheduled for Sunday

LAWRENCEVILLE - Fire departments nationwide will celebrate National Fire Prevention Week from Sunday until Oct. 14, and Gwinnett County will kick off the week in its usual way with an open house from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The event will take place at Fire Station 20, located at 1801 Cruse Road in Lawrenceville.

The public is welcome to attend, and there will be plenty of fire safety-related activities for people of all ages, said Lt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

"The open house is something we do annually," Rutledge said. "It's a day when we invite the public to the fire station, and we'll have tours to people can see where the firefighters live and where they work."

Rutledge said the day will include fire prevention programs and demonstrations, screenings of the video "Be Cool About Fire Safety," and the opportunity to take part in mock fire in the youth fire safety training facility, an eight-station village located behind the station.

The training facility is used to teach youngsters how to react during a home fire.

Fire apparatus used by firefighters at Station 20 will also be on display, and free fire prevention literature will be given out to those in attendance.

Gwinnett County recognizes the month of October as fire prevention month, an extension of what is nationally recognized, Rutledge said.

National Fire Prevention Week was started to remember the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, which spread through the midwestern city, killing more than 250 people and displacing upward of 100,000.

This year's national theme deals with preventing kitchen fires, which Rutledge said is a problem countywide.

"We've seen an increase in the amount of kitchen fires due to food left unattended or grease fires that get out of control," he said. "The national theme is something that hits close to home with us."

A large fire earlier this year destroyed four apartment buildings in a complex, and the fire was the result of a kitchen fire.