Fire Officials Urge Space Heater Safety After Deadly House Fire

Thursday, December 27th 2012, 6:13 pm
By: News 9

A space heater is to blame for another house fire overnight, displacing a metro family. This comes just a day after a space heater caused a fire that killed a mother and her four children.

Thursday night, firefighters are urging homeowners who use space heaters to do so with caution.

When temperatures drop below freezing, more metro families are buying and using space heaters. While we've seen in the past couple of days how dangerous they can be, the good news is, some of the newer models have new features that make them safer.

Fire officials want to make sure everyone knows how to use them properly.

12/27/2012 Related Story: Space Heater Blamed For Fire In NW OKC 

"We know people have to do a variety of things to keep warm, but one of the things to keep in mind is, you need to inspect the space heater's cords [and] make sure they're not frayed, they're not worn, and do not cover them with rugs," OKC Fire Major Kevin Berry said.

A space heater caused a deadly house fire early Wednesday morning in NW Oklahoma City.

"It just breaks my heart," neighbor Amanda Baker says. "I just can't even imagine what their family's going through."

A mother and her four children were killed in that fire. Thursday, neighbors left teddy bears in front of their home.

"They do provide heat. They do work when used properly, but again, they're meant to be supplemental," Berry says. "They're not meant to be a home's main heating source."

Firefighters say space heaters should never be left on overnight. But newer ones, they say, are safer.

12/26/2012 Related Story: OKC Police Identify Children, Mother Who Died In Accidental Fire

"Some of the newer ones have a mesh guard. It's more difficult to stick something in there that would catch fire," Berry says. "If the plug becomes hot, if the cords become hot, turn them off, unplug them. Allow them to cool down, inspect them, and if you suspect something's wrong with the space heater, have it checked out."

Firefighters recommend space heaters with a tipping safety device, so if they accidentally get knocked over, they'll shut off automatically.

The city fire department says three fires have been caused by space heaters in the past two days.

Read more about safety tips for preventing home fires.