Firefighters warn about space heater safety in frigid temperatures

ST. LOUIS, Mo. _The St. Louis area experienced bitterly cold temperatures Wednesday morning (Dec. 27), and temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for the next few days. Organizations like Heat Up St. Louis help elderly, disabled and low-income families with heating bills. Unfortunately, there are people who will try to take matters into their own hands and use alternative sources to heat their homes.

When temperatures dropped earlier this month and people across the area worked to stay warm, St. Louis firefighters responded to three separate house fires all started by space heaters.
St. Louis Fire Department Captain Garon Mosby said a space heater should only be used to supplement a home’s regular heating and should not be used as the home's main source of heat.
According to Mosby, space heaters are safe to use when used as instructed. Space heaters should never be left unattended. If a person is leaving the room or going to sleep, the space heater should be turned off. Do not use extension cords with space heaters, and do not run the heater's cord under a rug. Be sure to keep the space heater away from anything flammable.
Mosby described an incident where a fire started due to improper use of a space heater.
"The occupant awakened to flames rolling over his head, and what he had done was taken a space heater cord and he’d spliced it with another cord and then ran it under a rug.” Mosby said, fortunately, the occupant was able to escape the fire.
Mosby reminds people to keep watering their Christmas trees until they take them out of the house. If the tree gets too dried out, it can be a fire hazard.
If someone is in need of a working smoke detector, they can pick one up at St. Louis Fire Department headquarters (1421 N. Jefferson Ave., 63106).​