With cold temperatures, space heater usage rises leading to safety concerns

Always put combustible items at least 3-feet away from the space heater on December 5th, 2017 at Fire Station 1 in Eugene, Ore. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Cooler temperatures hitting the area are increasing the use of space heaters to keep warm.

However, those heaters can be dangerous - just last March a tragic fire killed a Douglas County family of five in in Riddle.

The fire was found to be caused by flammable material too close to a space heater.

Eugene Springfield Fire Marshal Merryl Harrison wants to make sure everyone keeps safe and warm as temperatures begin to drop.

“We may have a wet shirt or a towel that we might simply place on top of a space heater, forget about it, thermos switch comes on or the portable heater is still left on, and now we have a recipe for fire,” Harrison explained.

According to Harrison, the best thing to do is get a certified heater that meets US safety standards.

Plug the heaters into an undamaged wall outlet and avoid using extension cords and running them under a rug.

Harrison says the materials that are found in homes are much more flammable than they were 30 years ago, which is another reason to be careful when using space heaters.

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