Staying cool and safe from A/C units

A/C units are a great way to cool off but when not operated properly, can turn into disaster.

In the last two weeks, Cameron County has seen two seperate fires and both involving window units.

One claimed the life of a 13-year-old and the other left an elderly woman homeless.

Assistant Fire Marshal Oscar Garza says it's very common to see fires started by window units, mainly because they're not wired properly.

"They'll put the wrong unit in and they'll wire it improperly. We see problems with extension cords or they'll switch wires in the breaker box. That causes an A/C to catch fire," he said.

Garza says statistics show that window unit fires usually happen between 2 and 8 pm.

"That's when they work the hardest. That's when it's the hottest time of the day," he said.

Garza tell us that July and August are their busiest months. That's when they usually see 10 to 15 fires involving window units.

The statistics nationwide are even worse. On average, the nation sees about 27,000 fires. 60 percent of those are caused by window units. They also account for 6,000 injuries and 5 to 10 deaths a year.

Garza says as long as people are careful they can avoid a tragedy like this.

"Sometimes cutting corners can cost you in the end," he said.

So if you're using a window unit to stay cool this summer, remember to use caution.