(FOX59) — An 81-year-old man died in a home fire on Christmas Eve and authorities suspect heating devices ignited it. Law enforcement believes the fire was an accident.
Unfortunately, space heaters and other alternative heating tools do create a risk, especially if left unattended. Bargersville Fire Deputy Chief Michael Pruitt advises people to only plug space heaters into a wall outlet, never an extension cord.
“The amount of energy that’s being drawn through that extension cord can cause the extension cord to overheat and catch fire also,” Pruitt said.
Deputy Chief Pruitt says no matter where you put a space heater in your home, make sure you have at least three feet of distance from the space heater and anything combustible.
“The other problem is, people leave them on when they leave home, then they’re unattended,” Pruitt said.
No one should leave their space heaters on when they leave the house nor overnight while they sleep.
“I would add more blankets, close doors in your home so that maybe one area of your home stays warmer,” Pruitt said.
Hamilton County Emergency Management advises people not to heat their homes with a gas oven either. It can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Carbon monoxide really can be a silent killer and unfortunately you can be affected by those fumes or that off-gas or the lack of oxygen and you can succumb to that before you really even realize what’s happening,” Executive Director Shane Booker said.
If you haven’t already, Pruitt also urges people to get their fireplaces cleaned and inspected before using them.
“When that flue fire starts, it gets hot enough or we haven’t had that flue inspected, it could spread into the attic of the home and cause big problems, it could catch your house on fire,” Pruitt warned.
Additionally, people should only use appropriate wood in their fireplaces – no wrapping paper, newspapers or boxes. Every home should also have working smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector.