In This City, Unlikely Suspects Have Started Dozens of Fires

Cats are being blamed for 100-plus blazes in Seoul homes over the past 3 years
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2021 1:30 PM CST
Cats Are This City's Accidental Arsonists
We don't think this cat lit that fire.   (Getty Images/kozorog)

It's not unusual to hear about a young child starting a house fire after playing with matches or a lighter. In South Korea, however, one city is plagued by a different type of accidental arsonist. Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters reports that for the past three years—from January 2019 through November of this year—cats are believed to have been the cause of 107 blazes inside city residences, per the Korea Herald. CNN reports that four people were injured as a result of the fires, under half of which were started while the owners were at home.

The fire and disaster department attributes the fires to cats jumping on top of electric stoves and activating touch-sensitive buttons that then cause the appliances to turn on and overheat. The department recommends using stoves that are able to lock, as well as to keep flammable objects away from the stove. If you think this is just a South Korea problem, think again: The American Humane group notes that 1,000 house fires in the US are caused by pets annually, though it doesn't point the finger specifically at cats. (More cats stories.)

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