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Fire departments warn people to be cautious while using space heaters as colder weather moves in

Posted at 8:38 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 21:53:18-05

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters cause more than 25,000 houses fires every year.

On Monday, a home in Beverly Hills was severely damaged by a house fire that was thought to be caused by a space heater.

“It hurts when you see your home burning, but I say the most important thing is that this is my treasure. My family is the most valuable. My car got burned and that’s the one I use to go to my work. God will provide,” said the home owner, Luisa Chavez.

“I was just out patrolling and noticed a heavy white smoke. Also being a volunteer fire fighter, I noticed the color of the smoke. As I pulled up, my hunch was right, and there was heavy white smoke rolling out of the eaves of the house,” said Chief of Police of Beverly Hills Thomas Schmidt.

Thankfully, all of the residents were able to escape, but Beverly Hills PD said the house is close to a total loss.

“With the weather and stuff changing, people need to understand. I know some people are in predicaments where they have to use space heaters or electric heaters, but just be careful where you place them in your home,” said Chief Schmidt.

During the winter months, fires caused by space heaters are all too common. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. house fires and the third-leading cause of house fire deaths.

“One of the biggest things is keeping three feet of clearance around the space heater so that you don’t have anything combustible that can come in contact with it. People don't realize too that they have animals and pets that like to run around the house, and they can knock those over, and if a space heater gets knocked over and it's an older space heater that doesn’t have an automatic shut off or tilt switch, then you can have a really big issue with that real quick,” explained Temple Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Jonathan Christian.

Assistant Chief Christian says the number one way to save lives and help local fire departments take quick action is by making sure your smoke detectors are working and up-to-date on batteries.

Temple Fire & Rescue also wants to remind people to not plug your space heater to an extension cord, but instead plug the heater directly into the wall. Space heaters require a lot of power, and that puts a lot of strain on extension cords, which could overheat and cause a fire.