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Be careful while staying warm

February 1, 2011

With low temperatures dipping well below freezing this week, many area residents will be looking for some extra warmth, a search fire department officials say can turn deadly if precautions aren’t taken.

Big Spring Fire Marshal Carl Condray said there are many different types of secondary heating, ranging from portable electric units to wood-burning stoves, but the most common causes of fires involving them are avoidable.

“There are a lot of different type space heaters out there,” said Condray. “There are portable electric heaters, portable kerosene heaters, stoves, fireplaces and room gas heaters. “There are many common causes of home heating fires. In wood burning appliances, a lack of proper cleaning can lead to excessive build up of creosote in the chimney and connectors. Also, a lack of safety enclosures or poor design accounted for many fires. For space heaters, the single largest cause was failing to maintain a safe distance from combustibles followed closely by improper fueling practices.”

Fires involving portable heaters can be avoided by exercising some simple precautions, said Condray, including checking to be sure the unit has been tested.

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