Space Heater Safety

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A New Matamoras home was lost Saturday after a space heater caught fire in it.

Still, according to local fire officials, more and more people are relying on the devices to save money as fuel costs rise.

Eugene Gandee of Parkersburg is one of them.

"My gas furnace, I don't use it anymore than I have to cause it costs a fortune on natural gas," he said.

Gandee purchasing his fifth space heater at KMart Sunday. He says he's never had any problems with them because he's always been careful.

"I've used electric heaters since I moved back here from West Palm Beach thirteen... years ago."

Although they may be cost-efficient, the
National Fire Protection Association reports portable space heaters cause about 22,000 house fires in the U.S. each year.

A local fire fighter offered some advice on how to avoid situations like the one a New Matamoras couple faced Saturday.

"Never leave one on in a room that's unattended, and never leave one on when you're sleeping," said Lieutenant Jack Hansis, with the Marietta Fire Department. "These are recipes for disaster."

In addition to that advice, the NFPA says to:

-Check the heater's power cord for damage
-Place the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic
-Stick with electric space heaters because they're safer than their fuel-burning counterparts
-Avoid using an extension cord or plugging the heater in to a power strip

Hansis said sticking to the manufacturer's manual is also a must.

"That little extra safety will protect the most valuable that you have in your house, which is your family," he said.

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