Local crews warn of winter time fire hazard

LOVELAND, OH (FOX 19) - The Northeast Fire Collaborative, which includes departments from Blue Ash, Mason, Sharonville, Sycamore and Loveland-Symmes, says 70% of the fires they encounter in the winter months come from one source.

"Without a doubt, space heaters are the number one cause of home fires during this time of year from December to March," said Loveland-Symmes Deputy Fire Chief, Andrew Knapp.

It could take as little as three minutes before a fabric touching a space heater can go up in flames.

Authorities say the first safety rule is to read the manufacturer's instructions before you turn the unit on. "The first four pages of [many instructions] have the dangers and the warnings written all over it," said Knapp.

Other safety measures include:

  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from furniture or combustible materials.
  • Never connect them to extension cords which may overload a circuit.
  • Space heaters are designed to provide temporary warmth, not over long periods of time.
  • Keep space heaters away from water, including the bathroom.
  • Always crack open a window to improve ventilation.

"The modern smoke detector is absolutely the one thing that has saved more lives than anything else," said Knapp.

However, what if someone rents and doesn't own the home?

"You can absolutely demand that your landlord provide you with some type of smoke detector," said Knapp. "They're required by law to install working smoke detectors into the building." It is the tenant's responsibility, however, to replace the battery when needed.

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