Picture courtesy of The Oregonian
A portable space heater being used as a replacement for a malfunctioning fireplace is responsible for the fire that killed six, including five children, in Riddle, Oregon. According to news reports, combustible materials were placed too close to the heater that started the fire. One survivor suffered burns to his body.
This tragedy is an unfortunate reminder that space heaters have the potential to be very dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Last month, NBC’s Today Show featured a report on just how fast-moving and devastating space heater fires can be.
According to an NFPA research report on home fires involving heating equipment, space heaters are involved in two of every five fires started by home heating equipment. Moreover, they are by far the most dangerous and destructive types of fire, accounting for 84% of civilian deaths, 75% of civilian injuries, and 52% of direct property damage.
NFPA developed a safety tip sheet to help make sure users take the appropriate precautions when using space heaters. To find out more about the causes of home fires, visit NFPA’s report on residential home fires.