Winter is here and space heaters lead in home fire deaths: Here's what to know

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

With colder temperatures, many Texans rely on space heaters during the winter, which is the leading death in home fires. 

About 80 percent of home heating fire deaths in the U.S. involve space heaters, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And nearly half of home heating fires are in January, February, and December.

Texans can take precautions and learn from the recent tragic event in New York. A malfunctioning electric space heater in an apartment building fire killed 17 people, including 8 children leaving many still fighting for lives in hospitals. 

More:County deputy and family lose home in morning fire

Space Heater Safety for South Texas

"Be cautious,” said Patrick Thomas, Alice Fire Chief. “In the past few years, several fatal Texas fires were started by space heaters."

"For residents with regular heating units it is also important to stay up to date with inspections," he added. 

Tips for space heater safety include:

  • Inspect a heater before you use it. Make sure there are no cracked or broken plugs or loose connections.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. (DO NOT USE A POWER STRIP)
  • Keep your space heater at least three feet from anything that can burn.
  • Turn off your space heaters before you leave the room or go to bed. Look for models that shut off automatically when tipped over.

“Stay safe and warm—and careful,” Thomas said.

Alice firefighters respond to house fire on Farm-to-Market 1554.