Cold temperatures lead to increased number of house fires - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cold temperatures lead to increased number of house fires

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Firefighters have been busy this winter. As the temperature drops, homeowners crank up the heat. That's lead to more house fires in the Heartland.

Cape Girardeau Fire Battalion Chief Brian Shaffer says there are approximately 25,000 house fires each year in the U.S. caused by heating appliances. He says that number encompasses all fires caused by furnaces, fire places, chimneys and space heaters. Shaffer says space heaters alone comprise about 6,000 of those fires.

"We recommend that when you buy a space heater you buy one with an automatic shut off, so if it’s accidentally knocked over it'll shut off," said Shaffer.

Firefighters say a fire near Delta, Missouri Tuesday night was caused by a kerosene heater. Another house fire last month in Royalton, Illinois is being blamed on space heaters along with another house fire in East Prairie, Missouri.

"You want to keep all combustibles at least 36 inches away from the heater. That means your drapes, curtains, blankets, furniture. Something else you want to do is keep these off carpets only on hard surface floors like tile or wood."

Shaffer says me if you do use a space heater you should always turn it off before you leave the house, and never leave a space heater on while you sleep.

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