Space heaters, ovens, stoves cause problems for Indy firefighters

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 18, 2016) – Indianapolis firefighters say Hoosiers trying to keep their homes warm the wrong way are keeping them busy this time of year.

Space heaters, ovens and stoves are just some of the common causes for fires on days with frigid temperatures, IFD Battalion Chief Rick Longerich said.

“They’ll use their ovens. They’ll use the burners on the top of their stoves for auxiliary heat,” Longerich said.

He said besides starting fires, these kitchen appliances can also cause problems in your home  you might not know about.

“There is also the possibility of releasing carbon monoxide into your home when it is shut up tight and your not going in or out,” Longerich said. “That’s a serious problem in the winter time as well.”

Besides ovens and stoves, Longerich said space heaters are a big problem for firefighters.

“They’re supposed to be  a supplemental source of heat not your main source of heat,” he said.

The problem is often a result of an improper installation of the space heater, Longerich said.

“They’ll place them too close to combustibles such as bedding, couches, furniture, curtains and that creates a huge problem for us,” he said.

Earlier this month, The Indianapolis Fire Department responded to four vacant house fires in a four day stretch all started by people trying to stay warm.

“Homeless people or vagrants have been in abandoned houses and they actually start fires inside the house with whatever they can find trying to stay warm,” Longerich said.

He adds the best way to stay warm this winter season is to maintain your furnace and read the directions when you install a space heater.

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