Colder Temperatures Bring Possible House Fire Dangers
By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - Temperatures are dropping outside but inside they're rising, and if you're not careful, your home and your life could be at risk.

"We see people get maybe a little too relaxed with a product and that includes a space heater," Odessa Fire Marshal, Detra White, said. "If you use a space heater on a regular basis, it just becomes a part of your house that you don't give a second thought to."

But not giving much thought to that space heater could result in deadly consequences.

"Heating is a leading cause of fire deaths in America because most of that occurs at home," White said.

Recent numbers show Texas saw nearly 800 heating fires, White said the city saw 10 of those fires just last year.

White says too many times, residents will leave combustible materials too close to the heaters, but those combustible items may not be what you think.

"Clothing, cloth furniture, comforters, sheets, bed spreads, blankets," White said.

Although they haven't seen many heating fires in the Tall City, Midland Fire Marshal Jeff Meiner says people often move the heaters closer to beds at night to stay warm.

"Unfortunately sometimes those are fatal fires because they happen in the middle of the night," Midland Fire Marshal, Jeff Meiner, said.

And space heaters aren't the only concern. Meiner said stove tops and ovens are also used to heat homes, but that's putting you at risk for another danger: carbon monoxide.

"It's a silent killer because it's odorless and tasteless." Meiner said. "We can't urge people enough to not do that," White said. "That appliance is not designed for that."

Both fire marshals said space heater fires can be easily prevented just by following some helpful reminders.

"Use caution when you're using space heaters. Don't use extension cords with them," Meiner said. "Make sure you maintain that three feet of clearance."

"Always avoid the use of space heaters in rooms with children," White said. "Above all, make sure you have working smoke detectors, that is number one above everything."

"It'll wake you up in the middle of the night and allow you to escape a burning home," Meiner said.