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Source: Kokomo Tribune

KFD: Space heater likely to blame for house fire

By Cody Neuenschwander

Kokomo Fire Department officials say in a report a space heater likely is to blame for a fire that destroyed a house in the 100 block of Chateau Court Monday morning, the latest in a rash of devastating house fires in the area.
Chateau Fire
No injuries were reported, with a resident advising no one was home at the time. A KFD fire report indicates the house is a total loss.

The call came in at 6:40 a.m. Monday, and upon their arrival firefighters were met with a “large amount of flame showing.” Reports say the fire was heavy in two bedroom areas.

Neighbors informed first responders nobody was home, but kid’s toys in the yard and foot prints in snow on the driveway prompted an interior search. The fire was put out via “exterior attacks.”

A resident told firefighters there were four space heaters set up throughout the house. A following investigation into burn patterns indicated the blaze started in a bedroom in the back of the house, where a space heater was in use. “Large amount of clothing/bedding debris in area suspected as combustibles first ignited by heater,” states the fire report.

The scene was cleared by 8:32 a.m.

A press release sent out by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Wednesday contained a list of safety tips to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Included in the list:

Space heaters should be kept away from loose or flammable objects, like clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture. Keep at least a 3-foot parameter around space heaters at all times. Additionally, only one space heater should be plugged into an electrical outlet at a time. Never overload electrical outlets.

Don’t leave space heaters running in unoccupied rooms. If the purchase of a space heater is necessary, consider buying one with a built-in tilt sensor that ensures the heater shuts off if it’s tipped over. Refuel kerosene space heaters outside the house in a well-ventilated area, and let it cool down first if it was recently used.

“Home fires occur more often in winter than any other season, and alternative heating sources are one of the leading causes of home fires and fire-related deaths each year,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson in the press release. “Fires caused by alternative heating equipment account for 19 percent of home fire deaths in the United States.”

For more information on fire safety, visit GetPrepared.in.gov and follow the Indiana Department of Homeland Security on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IndianaDHS or on Twitter @IDHS.

Cody Neuenschwander can be reached at 765-454-8570 or by email at cody@kokomotribune.com

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