BRIMFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Brimfield Fire Chief, State Fire Marshall and District Attorney announced Thursday that the accidental cause of the last week’s deadly fire was a space heater.
“Space heaters need space,” said Brimfield Fire Chief Don Contois. “If you’re using one at home, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away on all sides and be sure to turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep.”
An older man died in the fire on Third Street in Brimfield last Thursday. An investigation found several space heaters in the single-family lakeside home. The fire began in the living room with a portable propane-fueled space heater. The home was a total loss.
“Portable space heaters caused more than a dozen fires in Massachusetts last winter, including one in Holliston that claimed a resident’s life,” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “Remember that kerosene space heaters and portable propane space heaters are not permitted for residential use in Massachusetts. Electric space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, and they should have an automatic shut-off switch that disables the device if it tips over.”
No working smoke or carbon monoxide alarms were found in the home as well.
“Heating equipment is the second-leading cause of residential fires and the main source of carbon monoxide at home,” Contois and Ostroskey said. “Smoke and CO alarms are your family’s first line of defense, so be sure you have them on every level of your home and test them once a month to be sure they’re working properly.”
Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaces every five to seven years, based off the model. It is recommended to change the batteries twice a year.
If you are struggling to pay your heating bill this winter, you can apply for assistance through the Massachusetts home energy assistance program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP may be able to assist in paying your winter heating bill or help maintain your heating system.