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Fire officials stress importance of space heater safety

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SPACE HEATER SAFETY CITY OF UTICA

UTICA, N.Y. -- Following the apartment fire that killed 17 people in the Bronx on Sunday, the cause was identified as a malfunctioning electric space heater. With temperatures dropping into the single digits on Tuesday, it's expected that space heaters in this area could be used to warm people up.

Utica City Fire Chief, Scott Ingersoll, said it's important to stay diligent because this is the time of year when electrical fires start to break out.

"With any cold snap that we have or cold spell that we have, we do see an increase in fires, heating issues, electrical issues," Ingersoll said.

Ingersoll and the City of Utica put out a list on Monday, telling people how they can safely use their space heater so something like this doesn't happen to them too:

  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic. Never block an exit.
  • Keep children away from the space heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed.