Tips For Preventing Fires Related To Space Heaters

Monday, December 2nd 2013, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

As more winter weather approaches, some folks will be looking to space heaters to keep themselves warm.

The holiday weekend showed just how dangerous those heaters can be, with three people killed in two separate fires. The fire department says this time of year can become especially dangerous for anyone using a space heater to stay warm. The good news is there are several different safety features that everyone needs to know.

Charles Wilde is in the market for a space heater.

"My wife is not well and she needs the heat," Wilde said.

He's not alone. Space heaters become very popular this time of year, but these portable heating devices bring along some major safety concerns.

11/28/2013 Related Story: Osage County Mobile Home Fire Kills 2 On Thanksgiving Day

Danny Grossman lost his son and his son's girlfriend early Thanksgiving morning when the family's mobile home burned to the ground. The state fire marshal's office said there were five space heaters inside the 720 sq. ft. mobile home and no working smoke detectors. Investigators believe an article of clothing or a bed sheet got too close to one of the space heaters.

Then, early Sunday morning, a home on North St. Louis in Tulsa caught fire, killing an elderly woman.

"One of the residents who had left earlier in the evening said they were using space heaters to help heat the house," said Captain Stan May, with TFD.

12/1/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Woman Killed In Overnight House Fire

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says space heaters are to blame for one-third of all home heating fires and 81 percent of the deaths from those fires.

They say it's important to keep anything that can catch fire at least three feet from space heaters. They also suggest to look for the latest safety features when buying a new space heater. There are a number of options: one is called overheat protection, which shuts the heater off if it gets too hot. There's also tip-over protection to prevent an accident if the heater falls over.

"If the unit tips over, it's got a sensor that detects that and will actually shut off the unit, so that prevents any type of burning or any type of damage with that," said Home Depot employee Brad Lawson.

The Home Depot also suggests that you don't use an extension cord, as it could overheat, and to keep space heaters away from a damp or wet environment.

More Tips On Preventing Heating Fires From NFPA