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Fire crews say space heater caused house fire

Posted at 6:57 PM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 19:57:28-05

A Tulsa family is trying to salvage everything they can Tuesday after their home caught fire not once but twice.

Reverend Anthony Moore and 11 other family members are staying in a motel after a fire ripped through their second floor Tuesday morning around 4:30. Moore says he was asleep when the blaze began.

“When my wife turned over, she opened her eyes and said, 'Get up! The house is on fire!'” he said.

Fire crews believe the fire started because of a space heater that ignited in a bathroom. They were able to knock down the flames in about 10 minutes. They tried to salvage as many walls as they could in the old home, but it would only be a matter of hours before they were back again.

The fire rekindled – this time, in the attic – just after 10:30. Crews ripped through more walls and continued to double-check the home to make sure the fire was out for good.

Now, Moore's family is looking for a new place to live. The Red Cross is helping them with anything they need in the next few days. But as his family pulls out what's left of their belongings, Moore says he's learned a valuable lesson.

“Don't use space heaters,” he said. “Had I not moved then, it was moving so fast, it would have covered the doorway and I wouldn't have been able to get out.”

Firefighters urge residents to keep watch over any space heaters that might be used in the winter months. They say older ones in particular can be destructive if left unattended.

“If anything falls against it, a towel, a bedding, anything like that, if it gets knocked onto it, it's going to catch on fire,” said Tulsa Fire Public Information Officer Stan May. “And regardless of what kind of space heater you have, we recommend you keep it at least three feet from anything combustible in the house.”

Crews also recommend making sure the plug fits snugly into the outlet, never run electrical cords under rugs or carpet and never leave heaters on while you're sleeping.

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