The Midland Fire Department is reminding citizens to take care in using space heaters after a structure fire took place Thursday morning in Midland.
First responders arrived at a structure fire at approximately 4:33 a.m. Thursday in the 800 block of South Pecos Street. The fire crews responding first reported light smoke coming from the rear of the home, and it was discovered that the fire started in a bedroom toward the southwest end of the house.
The investigation into the fire revealed that an electric space heater that was placed too close to the bed had ignited the fabric bed covering and flames spread to adjoining window drapes. One of the occupants in the home used a water hose to extinguish most of the flames before fire crews arrived. All occupants escaped without injuries.
There were no smoke detectors in the home, and the occupants of the bedroom were alerted only by popping noises caused by the fire.
As colder weather approaches, the Midland Fire Marshal’s Office urges all citizens to follow the recommended standards for using space heaters in the home or business. According to National Fire Protection Association statistics from 2011, heating equipment caused an estimated 53,600 home structure fires, including 1,520 civilian injuries, 400 civilian deaths, and 893 million in direct property losses.
Based on averages from 2007-2011:
• Space heaters accounted for one-third of home heating fires and 81 percent of home heating fire fatalities.
• The leading contributing factor to home heating fires was failure to clean solid-fuel equipment, primarily chimneys.
• Placing combustible material too close to heating equipment was the leading contributing factor to ignition in fatal home heating fires. This accounted for more than 53 percent of home heating fire deaths.
• Half of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
To prevent a fire like this in your own home, keep the following tips in mind:
• All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
• Have a 3-foot “kid free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
• Turn off space heaters when you leave a room or go to bed.
For more fire safety tips, please call the Midland Fire Marshal’s Office at 432-685-7333 or visit www.nfpa.org/safetytips###
Media Contact: Fire Marshal David Hickman