Space Heaters Cause 3 Fires in 1 Week in MO

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Fire officials blame three house fires in the past week on misuse of space heaters.

A house fire on Monday on East Atlantic Street was caused by a resident using a space heater in the garage to keep stray cats warm, according to a news release from the Springfield Fire Department.

An overloaded electric panel caused a fire on North Ramsey Avenue on Thursday while a woman inside the home slept.  A neighbor alerted her to the fire and she was able to get out safely.

The third fire was caused by an electrical line that overheated at a home on South Florence Avenue.  Fire officials say multiple space heaters were in use there.

Firefighters also noted both homes that caught fire on Thursday had no working smoke detectors.

The Springfield Fire Department offers tips for people using space heaters:

  • Make sure your space heater has an emergency shutoff in case it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including clothes, furniture, and yourself.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended.
  • Plug space heaters directly into an electrical outlet and never use an extension cord which can overheat, resulting in a fire.
  • Overall, central heating is safer than space heaters.

Firefighters also remind the public to install and maintain their smoke alarms, check alarm batteries -- and plan and practice fire drills.

Springfield residents are eligible for one free smoke alarm by calling (417) 864-1500.

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