Space heaters attributed to house fires

NFPA says 50 percent of home fires between December, February

By Tim Pulliam , Nick Jones - Producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Meteorologist John Gaughan says the temperature will take a plunge for the next several nights, and if you're going to use a space heater to get rid of the chill, firefighters warn to be careful.

Monday, firefighters say a space heater set fire to a Jacksonville mother's home just as she was about to walk her child to the bus stop.

50 percent of all home heating fires occur between December and February according to the National Fire Protection Association.

With an extended cold spell in the works for nearly the rest of January, firefighters worry more fires like the one Monday could happen from space heaters.

Randy Wyse with the Jacksonville Firefighters Association stresses the importance of reading the instructions when using a space heater. Most will tell you to keep them at least three feet away from flammable materials like a couch, curtains or bedding. 

"You could say one with an open flame is a little more hazardous than say, a ceramic heater or a radiator style type heater," said Wyse. 

Wyse said the same goes for using a Kerosene heater. Make sure you take it outside to refuel it, then bring it back inside.

An alarming statistic: every year more than 300 people die in home heating fire. 6,000 people go to the hospital with injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

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