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Warning Issued About Space Heaters

Warning Issued About Space Heaters

Posted - Jan. 19, 2004 at 9:24 p.m.



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Samantha Hayes reportingThis time of year, a common culprit in home fires is a space heater.

Nearly 50 people have died in the past few months in fires caused by the heating devices. That's why the Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing a warning to anyone who uses one.

Lots of people are using them because this has been an especially cold winter in many parts of the country.

Here in northern Utah where we've been trapped in the freezing cold for weeks.

Battalion Chief Dan Andrus/ Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: "If you are going to have this chair and be here watching tv, you would want the space heater three feet away probably. A good safe distance. Then be careful, too, things pile up next to chairs-- newspapers, things like that. That is also an invitation to a fire."

When the temperature drops below freezing and stays there, sometimes all you can think about is getting warm.

A space heater is a quick way to do it. It's also a quick way to start a fire.

Battalion Chief Dan Andrus: "We find heaters with clothes piled on top, stuff stacked up against them, and that's just an invitation to a fire."

The Consumer Product Safety commission says 49 people have died in the past few months in fires caused by space heaters.

A 79 year old man who lived in a Dallas home was killed after leaving a space heater too close to flammable material.

In Kansas this month a four year old girl pulled her cover over the heater and ignited a fire that destroyed everything.

Dan Andrus: "Two out of three home heating fires are due to space heaters, and five out of six home heating fire deaths are due to space heaters."

Just as dangerous-- kersone and propane heaters.

Capt. Jay Ziolkowski/Salt Lake County Fire Dept.: "Carbon monoxide poisoning seems to be the biggest problem we are having this year as far as build up. A lot of it has to do with the weather that we've had, the power outages. People are using alternative sources of heat and with that carbon monoxide builds up in their homes."

If you use a heating source that emits carbon monoxide make sure the area is properly ventilated.

If you have one of the electric ones, keep a clearance area of at least three feet all around the heater and don't fall asleep with it on.

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