As space heater sales soar, so do the number of fires - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

As space heater sales soar, so do the number of fires

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Leaving a heater unattended is a mistake firefighters see time and time again especially this time of year. Leaving a heater unattended is a mistake firefighters see time and time again especially this time of year.
Tina Mills Tina Mills
Louisville Fire Department Captain Salvador Melendez Louisville Fire Department Captain Salvador Melendez

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Space heaters are flying off store shelves because of the freezing temperatures, but they are also one of the leading causes for house fires.

When the furnace at Tina Mills' home in Louisville didn't work she turned to space heaters to warm her home.

"The space heater was plugged into this wall here. So, I guess this is where it started," Mills explained as she pointed to her bedroom.

The space heater was left on while they left and shopped for a Christmas tree. Leaving a heater unattended is a mistake firefighters see time and time again especially this time of year.

While temperatures drop, space heater sales soar. They have been flying off the shelves at a Home Depot in Clarksville. Those sold at the store at Home Depot are all nationally certified. They come with a slew of safety warnings which fire officials say are often ignored.

"There is such thing as using it improperly putting yourself in a bad situation because of that," Louisville Fire Department Captain Salvador Melendez said.

He recommends making sure the space heater has a built in breaker, an automatic timer and that it will shut off if it's tipped over. He says they should only be used temporarily and never overnight.

"If you try to circumvent the mechanism, you are asking for trouble," he said.

Melendez showed us a portable space heater that did have those three safety features, but it still sparked a fire at a home in Louisville. Too many items were also plugged in with it.

As for Tina Mills, she plans on never using a space heater again.

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