May 17, 2016 7:34 PM by Darren Leeds
The Chico Fire Department says, historically, around graduation time for Chico State they see an alarming number of couch and mattress fires. The culprits are usually students leaving their furniture behind. This week the fire department is cracking down, threatening anyone caught burning furniture with serious criminal charges.
Chico Fire Chief Bill Hack says the department has seen some scary situations that all stemmed from a small fire that started with a couch or mattress and they're looking to put an end to it.
Hack says, "We have had several fires that have started on couches or mattresses that were intentionally set and they were right up next to houses and they spread up into the house. We've had very close calls where college students had to jump out windows getting injured. People having to be rescued."
Chico Fire Chief Bill Hack says last year the department responded to more than 400 fires, a majority of them being couch or mattress fires.
Hack says furniture fires become more frequent as the semester ends at Chico State, which is why the department is looking to be more proactive in the next few weeks.
Hack says, "We will be having under cover fire investigators patrolling our high hazard areas, looking for these types of events to try to mitigate those problems before they start. If they do start we're going to move forward as far as we can in the prosecution of those events."
Anyone caught burning furniture will be charged with a felony and if they're a student, they'll face legal and academic discipline.
The City of Chico is even offering to take your couches off your hands for no charge with their Drop and Dash Program.
Hack says, "They can drop off any household furniture or household items and it's properly disposed of for free."
The Drop and Dash program where you can have your furniture disposed of for free will be held on May 24th and 26th from 10am until 3:30pm at two locations, the first is at 3rd and Orange, the second is located at West Sacramento and North Cedar.