Dangers of Space Heaters

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A man is homeless Monday after a fire consumes everything.

The incident happened Sunday evening and neighbors say a space heater is to blame.

The man escaped with only minor burns, but the incident could have easily been much worse.

Fire officials want to get the word out that if you're going to turn on a space heater to keep warm, there are a few tips you need to be aware of.

On the day after Christmas, 4 local fire departments battled a fully-engulfed home in Ashford.

“As soon as we saw the fire and smoke we ran over to see if we could help," said Tavares Grubbs.

Ashford fire officials say the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but neighbors speculate it may have been caused by a kerosene space heater.

“There are still some in homes that we see problems with that they accidentally get knocked over and start a fire," said Captain Chris Etheredge, PIO for the Dothan Fire Department.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates space heaters account for more than one-third of all fires caused by heating equipment.

“The newer ones also have a thermostat built into it so people believe that they have turned the heater off rather they've only turned it down so when it gets cold enough they will start on their own and begin to heat," said Etheredge.

That's when things become dangerous.

If the device is too close to furniture, window treatments, or clothing it could become a fire hazard.

“Make sure you have the proper distance which is 36-48 inches and when you to turn it off unplug it as well," said Etheredge.

“Other things to keep in mind is don't have frayed plugs, you don't have an extension cord that you're using to extend the space heater because that could heat up," said Tom Johnson, WTVY Engineer.

The most important thing to remember is to never leave your space heater unattended.

It could be the difference between a warm and toasty home and a non-existent one.

Space heaters contribute to more than 2,400 fires a year, resulting in nearly $50-Million dollars in property loss.

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