Local firefighters warn of the dangers of space heaters

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Keeping your home warm with a space heater this winter could also put you and your family’s lives in danger.

Peoria Fire Department’s Battalion Chief Rick Morgan explains that when space heaters are improperly placed and left unattended for long hours, they can easily ignite flammable objects like furniture, fabrics and wood.

“When you’re not using your space heater, unplug it, keep it at least 3 feet away from flammable objects and don’t put it in areas where things can become heated quickly, like a kitchen table or desk,” Morgan said.

Many people also make the mistake of leaving their heater plugged in or plugging it into a surge protector.

“People forget and leave them plugged in,” Morgan said. “It’s probably best to plug them into an outlet.”

Older, multiple-level homes may be poorly-insulated and expensive to heat, making an alternative heating source an attractive and frugal option. Lowering the heating bill by this method can be risky with older construction.

Morgan said many older homes have balloon-frame construction, allowing fires to travel up and down through walls.

“We can have a fire in a basement, but if it gets to an outside wall, it can get into the attic,” Morgan said.

For these reasons, it is important to use space heaters and alternative heat sources with caution and care and be aware of how you place your space heater in your home, as well as be aware of your home’s infrastructure.

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