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South Korea has warned people to be on guard against cats, after more than 100 house fires

Business Insider US
A stock image of a cat looking at the camera.
  • Pet cats have caused more than 100 house fires in South Korea since 2019, fire officials said.
  • The fires often start when cats switch on electric stoves after jumping on touch-sensitive buttons.
  • Pet owners should remove flammable objects from around their stoves to stay safe, the fire department said.
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Fire department officials have told pet owners in South Korea to watch out after more than 100 house fires were started by cats over the past three years, according to CNN.

A total of 107 house fires were caused by cats between January 2019 and November 2021, said a statement released by the Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Department.

Four people were injured in the fires, the statement said. And most of the incidents took place while the pet owners were out, it continued.

"Cat-related fires are continuing to occur recently," said Chung Gyo-chul, an official from the department, per CNN. "We advise households with pets to pay extra attention as fire could spread widely when no one is at home."

The department said that many cats started the fires by accidentally turning on electric stoves and jumping on touch-sensitive buttons.

To avoid catastrophe, CNN reported that pet owners are advised to remove flammable objects, like paper towels, from nearby stoves.

Pets are also setting properties alight in the US. According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, they are responsible for over 1,000 house fires each year.

In 2015, a viral YouTube video showed a dog in Connecticut reaching for a pizza box on top of a stove. The dog's paw turned on the gas ignition knobs, almost burning the house down.

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