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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Space Heater Blamed for District Heights House Fire

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief PIO, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

A District Heights family experienced first hand the dangers of a space heater early this morning.  At around 2:30 am, Wednesday, December 5, 2018, a fire was reported in the basement of a single-family house in the 7400 block of Leona Street.  Firefighters arrived to find a working fire in the basement and quickly extinguished the flames.

Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident but 3 adults and a dog are displaced from their home after an estimated $30,000 in damages.  An occupant told investigators that a space heater was left on during the time everyone slept.  The space heater appears to have ignited nearby combustibles.  No mention if there were any smoke alarms in the house.

The American Red Cross and the County Office of Emergency Management assisted the displaced occupants.

The men and women, career, civilian and volunteer, of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department recommend the following safety tips for space heaters.

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

Turn off space heaters before going to sleep at night.  

Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. 

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.  Never leave a space heater on and unattended.

Finally, having a working 10-year smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. Remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family. 

Prince George’s County homeowners can inquire about our free smoke alarm program by calling 311. A firefighter will install a working smoke alarm in your home; free of charge.

For additional information from the USFA and NFPA on Winter Fire Safety; click here.

Please take a moment and review this video from Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale about safety tips when using space heaters.

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