Amid freezing temperatures, firefighters make people aware of dangers surrounding space heaters

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Capt. Michael Pruitt with the Wayne Township Fire Department blames space heaters for a significant amount of fires happening in people’s homes.

“We’ve actually had fatalities here in the township where people put the space heater too close to the chair, too close to the blanket, too close to newspapers,” Pruitt said.

The fire captain identified some choices people make when the weather gets cold which can put them and their home at risk. He said using an extension cord with a space heater is one of those decisions.

“These are not designed to pull the power that’s coming through the electricity that’s coming through this cord, there’s a very good chance that the cord could fail, catch fire,” Pruitt said.

Many people will also use heat lamps this time of year to keep their pets warm, but that also poses a risk to them and your home.

“We’ve had several fires where people try to keep chickens warm, dogs,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt shared a warning about kerosene heaters too.

“It’s one that I don’t recommend that you use in the home,” Pruitt said. “You can use them in the home, but the problem is, anytime that you’re taking a flammable liquid and putting it in the home, to me that’s dangerous.

He said those can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are not properly taken care of.

“Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, odorless, tasteless gas that can take our life in the middle of the night while we sleep,” Pruitt explained.

Pruitt urged people to gather more blankets in the house and shut off the rooms they are not using. Also, make sure your smoke alarms are working properly.

With the temperatures dipping below freezing, people will begin lighting their fireplaces. Pruitt said to make sure you are burning wood safely.

“Burn proper wood,” Pruitt advised. “That means dry, cured wood. That doesn’t mean the wood that you went out and you cut two weeks ago and now you’ve got it stacked behind your house because it’s still wet, it’s still moist, you’re going to get creosote buildup.”

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