WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The dangerous things we do trying to keep warm during the extreme cold continue to cost lives. Nine children were among the 19 people who died in that Bronx tenement fire over the weekend. The follow up investigation found a malfunctioning space heater in the apartment where the fire began.
Local fire departments are concerned that too many of us turn to space heaters to supplement our heating systems without taking the necessary precautions.
Lieutenant Tony Spear, a spokesman for the West Springfield fire department, told 22News, “We like to remind people to keep those space heaters away from anything that’s combustible. General rule to remember: circle of safety, three feet around any space heater.”
With the intense cold impacting our decisions how to stay as warm as possible, Lt. Spear cautions all of us to act appropriately when depending on our fire place for added comfort.
“People don’t take the time to get their chimneys cleaned,” Lt. Spear said. “It’s very important. And the disposal of those ashes in a wood burning stove or fireplace. It’s important to dispose properly.”
Just remember that a single ember from a wood burning stove can remain dangerously hot for days. The potentially deadly mistakes people make also involve using generators inside a garage-leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
And regardless of the season, we must always have those smoke and carbon monoxide alarms working properly, ready to warn us when our lives are in jeopardy.