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12-16-16 Heater Starts Afternoon Apartment Fire


The firefighters were able to contain the fire to the one apartment, but there was smoke damage to some adjacent apartments. No one was home and no injuries were reported. The dollar loss was estimated at $15,000. The fire displaced one person.

A fire investigator has ruled the cause of the fire accidental due to a portable space heater being placed too close to combustibles, which included a bed. Fire Marshal Beau Matlock urges everyone to remember the three-foot rule when using portable space heaters. "Keep anything that will burn at least three feet away from your heaters," said Matlock. "These heaters are fine to use if they are used safely. When used improperly, they can lead to tragedy."

Here are some additional tips on heating safety:

· Keep all combustibles (newspapers, cloth, furniture) at least three (3) feet away from stoves, fireplaces, portable heaters and space heaters.

· Keep portable heaters at least three (3) feet away from walls as well.

· Children and pets should be supervised at all times when space heaters are in use.

· Resist the temptation to place clothes or other materials on or near space heaters to "dry them out." You may get distracted and forget about them.

· Use kerosene heaters with care, especially when refueling them. Always use the proper grade of kerosene, never gasoline and other fuels. Refuel them in a well-ventilated area – preferably outside – and only when the heater is completely cool.

· If you have a coal or wood-burning stove or a gas-burning cabinet heater, or any other built-in space heater, have it inspected by a qualified commercial repair company.

· Keep wood-burning stoves clean and repaired as often as necessary.

· Have your chimney inspected by a professional at the start of the heating season and cleaned if necessary.

· Have your central-heating system inspected and cleaned once a year and whenever you suspect a problem.

· Check the flues of your gas water heater or furnace for corrosion and obstructions that could present fire hazards.

· Misused extension cords are a fire hazard. Plug only one appliance into an extension cord. Don't run extension cords across doorways or under carpets or pinch them under or behind furniture.

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