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Winter Weather Brings Increased Fire Danger

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Tulsa Firefighters found flames shooting from the basement. The fire was caused by problems with a floor furnace. Tulsa Firefighters found flames shooting from the basement. The fire was caused by problems with a floor furnace.
According to Captain Dolah, preventing fires begins with a yearly furnace safety check by a heating technician. According to Captain Dolah, preventing fires begins with a yearly furnace safety check by a heating technician.
Space heaters account for a third of home heating fires. When buying one, look for devices with automatic shutoff features. Experts also say never use an oven for heating. Space heaters account for a third of home heating fires. When buying one, look for devices with automatic shutoff features. Experts also say never use an oven for heating.

By Craig Day, The News On 6

Tulsa, OK -- With the weather getting colder, more people will be cranking up their heaters. As the temperature goes down, the danger of house fires goes up.

Tulsa firefighters responded to their first heater fire of the season Monday.

The News On 6 has a few reminders to keep you safe.

Just before 5 a.m., neighbors spotted smoke coming from a home in the 2200 block of South Oswego.

Tulsa Firefighters found flames shooting from the basement. The fire was caused by problems with a floor furnace.

11/30/2009  Related Story: Floor Furnace Fire Damages Tulsa Home

It's something Tulsa firefighters see all the time.

"If you're going November through February, it would be in the hundreds for sure," said Captain Jeff Van Dolah, Tulsa Fire Department.

The National Fire Protection Association reports heater fires are the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February.

No one was hurt in the Oswego fire, but that isn't always the case.

"Many times you'll sleep and you won't wake up. The smoke will overcome you before you know anything about the fire," Dolah said.

According to Captain Dolah, preventing fires begins with a yearly furnace safety check by a heating technician.

Also, it's crucial to keep any items that can catch fire away from floor furnaces.

"Any kind of paper products, boxes, wrapping paper from Christmas, your Christmas decorations, any of that, keep away from floor furnaces," Dolah said.

That holds true for space heaters as well, which account for a third of home heating fires. When buying one, look for devices with automatic shutoff features. Experts also say never use an oven for heating.

Candles can also pose a danger. A candle knocked over in a garage apartment caused a fire Sunday just north of Archer and Atlanta. No one was hurt, but the garage is a total loss.

Tulsa firefighters also say they cannot stress enough how important it is for every home to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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