An Oklahoma City mother is out of the hospital this Christmas after a fire left her with severe burns. Her family says a space heater sparked the fire, and now they have a safety warning for other families.
Miriam Wiley was rescued by her two sons when her home went up in flames. She says the fire started because she left a space heater on, and ahead of Tuesday's winter storm, she wants other families who use them to be cautious.
Miriam Wiley's life has changed dramatically since her home was destroyed in a fire December 2.
"I had to get my hair chopped off, had scars all over my face, all over my hands, craters in my shoulders from the burns," Wiley said.
She and her two sons were sleeping when the fire started in their home near N.W. 36th and Penn.. Miriam was trapped by the flames.
"I went back into my room and my youngest son and my oldest son pulled me out," Wiley said.
Paramedics took Wiley to the hospital, where she was treated for weeks with 2nd degree burns.
"I looked in the mirror but I didn't recognize the person I was seeing," Wiley said.
Looking back, she wishes she'd done things differently. She left a space heater turned on in the living room, where the fire started.
"I remember thinking as I was walking by it, ‘you need to unplug that,'" Wiley said.
She's hoping others will learn from her story.
"If there's something else you can use instead of a space heater, talk to somebody about it, an electrician," Wiley says, "get your unit serviced."
Wiley is now renting a house while she and her family rebuild. While it's not ideal at Christmas time, she knows she has a lot to be thankful for.
"It means a lot because I get to be with my family," Wiley said.
You can help the family by donating to the Wiley Fund at Credit Union One of Oklahoma, located at 3330 N. Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City.
Experts say space heaters should only be used as a supplemental source of heat, and they need to be on a flat surface.
You should also keep them at least 3 feet away from furniture or anything flammable.