Open house planned tonight at fire station

As part of a nationwide fire prevention week, Merrimack Fire Rescue will hold an open house tonight from 4-8 at the central station on Daniel Webster Highway

Open house activities include fire extinguisher inspections and demonstrations; automobile entrapment demonstrations with extraction tools; tours of the station and trucks; and appearances by “Sparky the Fire Dog,” “Smokey Bear” and “Freddie the Fire Truck.”

Also on display will be the fire department’s restored, 1938 fire engine. Refreshments will be available from local supermarkets and restaurants.

Fire officials say 19 people have died in house fires in New Hampshire this year. The two main causes are discarded cigarettes and home heating systems, a press statement says.

The state fire marshal’s office and fire officials in New Hampshire are concerned that alternative heating systems, such as wood stoves, may lead to an increase in house blazes. At the open house, firefighters will be available for questions and safety advice.