Space heating dangers demonstrated by firefighters

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2015) - With freezing temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday, fire departments are warning residents about the dangers of portable home heaters. Speedway Battalion Fire Chief Everett Cheney says if you don't use a space heater properly, it could be deadly.

“Keep anything any textile, anything combustible, anything that can burn, keep it away from the space heater, no closer than three feet," Cheney said.

During a demonstration, firefighters placed fabric on top of a space heater. It took about 20 seconds for the fabric to catch on fire, but even faster for the fire to spread. Using a thermal imaging camera, firefighters determined the flames were over 800 degrees.

“As it ignites, it’s going to race up that piece of fabric, it’s looking for oxygen, and in a room, someone’s residence, it would reach up to the ceiling level and would begin to shoot across the ceiling," said Cheney.

There are important regulations you need to know if you are using a space heater, including keeping items more than three feet away. That includes keeping your own body away from the space heater.

“The clothing that we wear is also combustible and it’s going to burn," Cheney said.

Firefighters say never heat your home using a stove. There are other ways to help keep your house warm, while keeping your family safe.

"Close off rooms that are not absolutely necessary, shut the doors to them. If you can utilize the sunlight, allow the sunlight to come through the windows," said Cheney.