Beltsville Hotel Fire Sparked by Improperly Placed Space Heater - Sprinklers Extinguished

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930     @PGFDPIO

A Beltsville hotel found out the hard way that space heater safety is not just for the home.  At around 4:00 pm, Tuesday, October 20, 2015 a 911 was received reporting an odor of smoke on the 5th floor of a hotel in the 4000 block of Powder Mill Road.

Firefighters from the nearby Calverton Fire/EMS Station responded and quickly confirmed smoke on the 5th floor with a sprinkler activation.  Upon further investigation firefighters found curtains had been ignited by an improperly placed electric space heater.  Fortunately the buildings sprinkler system activated and doused the flames limiting the amount of fire loss to an estimated $1,000.

Fire Departments around the region have already seen the devastation caused by improper use of space heaters in just the past 2 weeks.  A home fire in Charles County claimed two lives after a space heater ignited a fire and on Monday a Seat Pleasant house fire was started by a space heater that caused significant damage and the loss of two pet dogs.  According to NFPA statistics space heaters account for about one third of the home heating fires yet more than 80 percent of the home heating fire deaths. 

Space Heaters

Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). 

Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over or if placed too close to an object.

Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. 


Space heaters need space; keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater.

Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use. 

Turn off at night or whenever you sleep. 

Never use an extension cord with space heaters - plug directly into wall socket.