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Space Heaters Cause Two Florida House Fires

February 6, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Two separate fires in Florida last month brought attention to the dangers of space heaters. One fire burned a man over half his body and a woman and her dog escaped the second fire, which destroyed their home.

As reported at, the man in the first fire was using a portable kerosene heater to heat his home. The kerosene ignited and the victim’s body caught fire. He was able to put out the flames by rolling on the ground. His home did not have a central heating unit, so he used the kerosene heater as an alternative.

In the second fire, a portable heater ignited the woman’s home, which contained oxygen tanks to help her breathe. Fortunately, she and her dog escaped the burning home before the oxygen tanks exploded. Her home also did not have a working smoke detector, according to investigators.

As fuel costs rise and the weather gets chillier, many residents turn to portable heaters as an alternative. Experts caution you to take these precautions if using a space heater:

  • The space heater selected must be tested by an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).
  • The preferred style of space heaters are fully enclosed by design and have no external surfaces that reach temperatures capable of igniting, such as an oil filled radiant heater.
  • Keep the space heater accessible – do not store anything within three feet of the unit. The leading cause of space heater fires is combustibles too close to the heater.
  • The unit must have thermostatic controls and automatic shutoff features.
  • Plug the space heater directly into an outlet. Do not use a light-duty extension cord or a multi outlet strip/surge protector; it can start a fire with a high-wattage appliance. Ground the unit with a three-pronged plug.

Are you using a space heater to heat a room in your home?

Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida injury lawyers