Recent house fires offer a good reminder for heater safety - abc27 WHTM

Recent house fires offer a good reminder for heater safety

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Thirty Harrisburg residents are out of their homes after an early morning apartment fire Thursday. It is the latest in a blazing trend of recent fires in the Midstate.

That fire happened at an apartment building on South 15th Street. Although fire officials said they are not sure what caused the fire, some recent fires in the Midstate have been sparked by a space heater.

"This time of year we'll see an increase in fires that started due to space heaters, whether electric or kerosene," said Patrick Rose, assistant fire chief for the York City Fire Department.

Firefighters are reminding Midstaters to use common sense when it comes to their space heaters. Keep heaters in a clear space away from beds, clothes, curtains, children, and pets.

"Pets have knocked them over and once they fall over they should have a kill switch that when they tip over that it shuts them off. But if they're older, they don't do that and the carpet or flooring can start to burn," said Rose.

If you are using an extension cord, make sure it is the right kind. That information can be found in the space heater user guide.

"What we find is extension cords will overheat or the people will put the extension cord underneath of something like carpet or furniture," said Rose.

Remember to get your furnace and chimney checked this time every year.

Regardless of how a fire starts, many people abandon their homes in the end. When that happens, the municipality is eventually responsible.

State Representative Kevin Schreiber just introduced House Bill 1833, which would help municipalities combat blighted and abandoned properties damaged by fire.

"They can lead to criminal activities, they are havens for individuals to do bad things and ultimately what they do is detract from the quality of the neighborhood, the stability of the neighborhood, pride in the neighborhood and property value," said Schreiber.

For more on Schreiber's bill, visit http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2013&sInd=0&body=h&type=b&bn=1833.


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