Mo. fire marshal: Space heaters found to be main cause of house fires in winter; offers safety tips

Space heaters leading cause of home fires and deaths in winter
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 11:07 PM CST
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JACKSON, Mo. (KFVS) - With temperatures expected to drop, a lot of you may be about to plug in a space heater.

According to the Missouri State Fire Marshal, space heaters are the leading cause of home fires and fire deaths from December through February.

“Many people do not understand the risks space heaters pose when misused, leading to deadly fires that could be prevented,” Missouri State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said in a news release.

He urged people to prepare for the frigid weather, and the dangers that come with staying with warm.

He suggested the following tips:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment. The 3-foot safety zone includes furniture, drapes, Christmas trees and electronics – anything that can burn.
  • Never use an oven or other cooking devices to heat your home.
  • Turn off portable heaters when leaving home or going to bed.

“A house fire is somebody’s worst day of their life,” Jackson firefighter Andrew Marler said, “we don’t want to go to that.”

Marler said he believes fire safety is the same as other fire prevention methods.

“It’s the same concept as having a fire alarm, smoke detector, it means your safety,” he said.

He said things happen, but in case you end up in this unfortunate situation, his department will there to help.

“It’s what we’re here for. It’s what we train for regularly, but at the end of the day, losing a majority of their stuff, and we don’t want that for anybody,” he said.

And with Christmas right around the corner, the Missouri State Fire Marshal said never leave a lighted Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. He said turn lights off when leaving your home or going to bed.