CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
The bitter temperatures will have many working their home heating systems extra hard to stay warm. Local fire officials want to make sure you are safe, especially when it comes to alternate heating sources like space heaters. The Chattanooga Fire Department says it sees accidental fires all too often.
"With the approaching cold weather I think it's important for us to remind everybody to be very careful how they heat their homes," says Bruce Garner with the Chattanooga Fire Department.
One Chattanooga home bears the scars of heavy fire damage. Fire crews rushed to Crutchfield Street and were able to knock down the flames but about $30,000 worth of damage was already done.
"Saturday night we had a house fire. It caused a lot of damage. And it was from a portable space heater," says Garner.
Garner says the fire serves as a reminder to others.
"The resident told firefighters on the scene he was using a space heater in the bedroom. He left it for several hours. He said it had been running for a long time. He went back into the room and the entire room was on fire," says Garner. "We repeat it a lot because it's worth repeating."
Garner says left unattended, space heaters are dangerous.
"The most important thing to remember is the three foot rule using those heaters. Keep anything that will burn at least three feet away from those heaters."
With bitter temperatures gripping the Tennessee Valley, the likelihood of more space heater-related fires happening is greater.
"Unfortunately what we see is often it will catch fire at night after it's been on for hours. Everybody's asleep and then the fire breaks out and it blocks their exits so that people can't get out," says Garner.
But Garner wants people know they are in good hands if first responders get that fire call.
"It may be more challenging for them, especially when it gets really really cold. But that's just part of the job and we're prepared for that as well," says Garner.
The man living at the Crutchfield home told investigators he tried to put the fire out himself and received minor burns to his hands. The Red Cross is assisting him and others who lived at the home.
As far as other safety tips, Garner says make sure you have some extra flashlights and batteries if the power goes out. They recommend you do not use candles for an alternate lighting source.
Saturday, January 20 2018 10:29 PM EST2018-01-21 03:29:09 GMT
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