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One resident was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Damage to the building was $250K and $100K for contents of the impacted apartments. Preliminary findings indicate that a space heater, placed too close to items that can burn, MAY be a contributing factor to this fire.
If you scroll back the last several days of this blog, you will notice we hit on the topic of cold weather fires and the usual suspect causes. The common theme is that a vast majority of these fires are preventable incidents. In other words, they did not have to happen.
Please remember that space heaters need SPACE! There should be nothing within a 3 foot radius of the space heater that can burn! Clothes and other burnable items should not be placed in and around the space heater to dry out or warm up! A vast majority of space heater related fires we respond too are not caused by a malfunction of the space heater.
Please take a moment to review the below tips for more information. Also, PLEASE feel free to forward to friends and family members. Help us to help you and your loved ones from having to place a 9-1-1 call because your home is on fire.
For portable space heaters:
o Fuel-fired space heaters are only permitted in single-family dwellings (houses and townhouses) in Montgomery County.
o Space heaters need space. Portable space heaters need a three-foot clearance from anything that can burn.
o When buying heaters, look for devices that are UL (Underwriters Laboratory) listed with automatic shutoff features that shut the unit off if it is tipped over. Be sure any heating device is placed in a room with adequate ventilation.
o Portable kerosene heaters should be fueled outside, free of flame and other heat sources, and only when the device has cooled completely. Use only the type of kerosene specified by the manufacturer for that device.
o Place them on a solid, flat surface.
o Turn them off when you go to bed or leave the room.
o Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
o Inspect for cracked or damaged, broken plugs or loose connections; replace before using.
o Follow manufacturer recommendations when using space heaters.