SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR – TV) — Another fire in the city of Syracuse yesterday added to the running count of structural fires this year.

According to Syracuse Fire Chief Michael Monds, at this time last year the city had seen 24 structural fires, right around par with the average at this time of 23. However, this year, that number is all the way up to 30.

“We’re coming off the cold months where people rely on those [heating] devices a lot more than normal,” he said. “But now we’re in a position of the year where some days it’s warm, some days it’s cold. So people are using those heating devices on and off.”

Sometimes, just being human, we forget to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on things that help keep appliances safe, like not keeping them close to any combustibles or any draperies and making sure that they’re on a level ground.

SFD Chief Michael Monds

Regardless of the cause of the fire, it has put quite a strain on an already understaffed and overworked department — but thanks to funding from the city, help may be on the way.

“Mayor Walsh has allowed us to add another firefighter on duty,” Monds said. “It’ll be the first time in 50 years where we’re actually increasing staffing in our downtown company. So that’s going to begin May 23.”

Rather than the three firefighters the company usually responds with, there will be four on every call, which Monds says will be a massive help, especially when it comes to dealing with emergency situations.

“We get 911 calls, and sometimes the call taker describes what’s going on. And then when we get there, there might be a totally different situation of what was given to us on the dispatch,” he said.

“Just having the flexibility to have one more person on scene address the different dangerous situations that we can encounter is just a huge asset for our Department right now,” Monds added.