Tulsa Fire officials warn the public of space heater dangers

Posted at 8:08 PM, Dec 19, 2016

The increase of house fires in Green Country has Tulsa Fire officials warning the public of the dangers of space heaters.

They said it's something the area has seen a lot lately; homes going up in flames after a space heater catches fire.

"It's been unusually busy before the cold snap hit and now that the cold snap hit, we are running a lot and most of it is heating related," Stan May, Public Information Officer for the Tulsa Fire Department said.

The tragedy of losing everything now serves as a reminder that space heaters can do more harm than good if not used properly.

"We've had at least two that caught clothes on fire," May said. "We had another person who tried to thaw out some pipes beneath his house, and so he put the space heater too close to those pipes and the wooden joist that holds those pipes."

Recently, several homes in Green Country have been lost because of the same culprit, a space heater, but there are ways to prevent this type of fire from happening.

"Space heaters are meant to heat space, so you have to make sure that they have plenty of it," May said. "Three feet on the outside of it before you get to anything that will burn."

Tulsa Fire officials said it's important your space heater is functional and preferably a newer model.

"They need to check the cords, make sure the cords aren't cracking," May said.

Also, plug the device directly into a wall socket without an extension cord. Extension cords pose a risk of shorting out or can put too much of an electrical load on your houses wiring system.

"Make sure that they have an over limit switch, so if it gets too hot it shuts off automatically, and a tip-over switch, in case a child or dog... cat, knocks it over... it doesn't continue to heat up."

If you're considering an alternative heat source, officials said the same guidelines apply. They also said to never leave your warming device unattended.

Do these things, and you and your home will have a safe and warm winter.

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