Another house fire, another space heater; caution urged in cold

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For the second time in a week, Opp firemen found themselves battling a blaze started by a space heater placed too close to flammable materials.

Now, Chief Cory Spurlin is encouraging all residents to take precautions during this week’s freezing weather.

At 9:52 p.m. Saturday, firemen responded to a home on U.S. Hwy. 84 east of Opp after receiving a report of a family trapped inside the burning home.

“Once we arrived, we found heavy smoke conditions and fire venting from one of the windows,” Spurlin said. “We also found out that the family had escaped safely from the home. They were checked by EMS, but one lady was transported to Mizell by private vehicle for precautionary measures. She’s fine now.”

Spurlin said since the fire occurred outside the city limits, but in the department’s jurisdiction, assistance was given by Union Grove Volunteer and Elba fire departments.

“The home sustained damage in a bedroom and a bathroom,” he said. “We could tell (the fire) was caused by a space heater.

“This is actually the second fire in a week we’ve had from a space heater,” said Spurlin who described a house fire on Jan. 20, where a bathroom was damaged. “That’s why want people to use caution when heating with a space heater.

“When using a heating source, we ask that it be kept three to four feet away from any item in the home, be it linens or curtains,” he said. “Also, when using extension cords, we’re seeing people double and triple overload them. Always go by the manufacturer’s instructions.

“Also, never use a portable device when heating the home, like a cooking grill,” he said. “Those give off carbon dioxide – which can be deadly.”

Monday, Andalusia Fire Chief Ethan Dorsey also encouraged area residents to avoid using their ovens to heat their homes, and to use precaution with portable heating units.

Also, he said, using a portable heating device outside for a pet can be dangerous.

“They want to put blankets or straw out there for their pets, too,” Dorsey said. “But if the dog knocks the heater over, he doesn’t know to move the blanket.”

It is smarter to move pets indoors, he said.