Space Heater Misuse May Increase Fire Risk

The Knox Center Township Fire Department is reminding residents to follow a few key rules when operating a space heater this winter.

The devices use electricity to help warm various spaces in homes, typically during colder months. Keeping the device too close to flammable household items can result in structure fires or other damage.

Township Fire Chief Kenny Pfost says space heaters with automatic shut-offs are preferred for in-home use.

“Don’t leave them unattended, don’t leave with a space heater going,” says Pfost. “You know, we’ve had houses that have been total losses before and others that have been contained to one room.”

Last year, one home was lost in Knox due to what fire officials say was the misuse of a space heater.

Following simple rules such as ensuring the space heater is in an open space, and ensuring it’s properly plugged-in can prevent fire related incidents.

Pfost says there can be real consequences if used improperly.

“The most severe consequence would be the loss of life and we never want to see that happen,” says Pfost. “And then serious injury, we hate to see families displaced anytime, let alone during the winter when it’s this cold outside.”

Certain space heaters can be operated with gas or kerosene. Pfost recommends not using those items indoors because of their often hotter temperatures and the release of fumes.

Working smoke-detectors on each level of a home can help alert homeowners to any potential dangers.