Fire officials urge not to use unconventional heat sources - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fire officials urge people not to use unconventional heat sources

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This year alone space heaters have been the cause of 33 percent of their fires. This year alone space heaters have been the cause of 33 percent of their fires.
The space heater shelf was empty at the Lowe's in Bashford Manor. The space heater shelf was empty at the Lowe's in Bashford Manor.
Captain Sal Melendez Captain Sal Melendez

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Keeping warm in brutal cold temperatures can be a daunting task and firefighters are urging people to use caution this time of year.

At the Bashford Manor Lowe's, there's was one aisle that was empty. "We've had a pretty big run on space heaters," said Chris Melton, Lowe's assistant manager. 

It's clear the frigid temps prompted a lot of people to do whatever they can to survive. 

"People get desperate and they want to stay warm and they want to make it through the night not knowing that by resorting to means such as those, they put themselves in harm's way," said Captain Sal Melendez, Louisville Metro Fire Department. 

Melendez said he has seen his share of tragedies related to using unconventional heat sources. This year alone space heaters have been the cause of 33 percent of their fires.  

"The common cause related to that is improper use, you know just not knowing how to use that device," said Melendez. 

Melendez said space heaters can be fine if they are treated as if they are a candle. "If you are going to bed, turn it off, if you are going to leave the room turn it off, understand that these are not designed for permanent use," said Melendez. 

Keep all clothing, home furnishings and draperies at least three feet from the unit. 

"This unit here failed of course, because there were too many other electrical devices plugged into that," said Melendez. 

Also, what can be dangerous this time of year is using a fireplace that may need to be inspected or cleaned. It's another source that shouldn't be relied on. 

"Number one it starts with having your home properly insulated," said Melendez. 

At Lowe's there are some reasonable solutions that can help. "We have a draft stop here, this will go under your doors and keep wind from coming in," said Milton. 

It's also a good time to check your smoke detector batteries and be sure if you are using any kind of gas heating element that you have a working carbon monoxide alarm. 

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