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After Fires, Officials Warn About Heater Hazards

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As colder weather moves in, the systems we us to keep warm, like space heaters and furnaces, become a concern for firefighters.
As colder weather moves in, the systems we us to keep warm, like space heaters and furnaces, become a concern for firefighters.

"Half of the fires related to heating occur during the months of December, January and February, and that makes sense because those are the winter months -- the coldest months," Fire Marshal Phil Noah said. 

Already this season, Springfield firefighters have doused flames at two homes because of fires possibly sparked by heaters. One of the blazes happened last night and is still under investigation.

Related Link: Springfield Fire Department's Safety Tips

"This could be the second incident this year and we're not even in the busiest months," Noah said. 

Noah said anything combustible should be kept at least three feet away from any heater -- and be sure children and pets stay away, too. All portable heaters should be turned off before bed, chimneys should be cleaned and smoke detectors tested.

Rich Callahan of Air Servies Heating and AC tells us that furnaces should be cleaned and inspected every year to avoid heating-related dangers.

"You could have carbon monoxide poisoning, there could be a fire -- you could have an electrical fire or a gas fire," Callahan said. 

And safety isn't the only benefit of a yearly checkup.

"You could save up to 30 percent in utility bills and double the life of your system. You could also stop a breakdown before it happens," Callahan said.

Loud noises, odd odors, dangling wires, and burn marks are all signs of trouble, according to Callahan.

And with the upcoming holidays, Noah said turkey cookers, christmas lights and extension cords and other items also spark concern. 

"Once those pine trees dry out, they become highly flammable. We have had some issues in Springfield with Christmas trees starting fires," Noah said.

Several fire safety tips are available on Springfield Fire Department's website, springfieldmo.gov/fire


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