Penticton Fire Department says be careful with space heaters

Space heaters spark fires

With a prolonged cold snap come more calls for house fires as residents turn on heaters and use fireplaces, and the Penticton Fire Department wants to remind the public to be smart about how they warm their home. 

Fire crews responded to smoke in a Penticton home's attic Tuesday evening from something burning in the walls, the cause of which has not yet been determined. But deputy chief Rob Trousdell says an uptick in fire calls during cold weather is normal, for several reasons. 

"People start using space heaters to heat certain areas of their home," Trousdell said, explaining he has seen electrical outlets overloaded, causing flames. 

"And also, [people] sometimes don't have a clear space around the heater. Blankets or pillows can get pushed off onto them. We've had a few fires over the years attributed to that."

Another big issue are wood-burning fireplaces with chimneys that have not been properly cared for. 

"They should be cleaned preferably at the end of the season or before the beginning of the season," Trousdell said. 

"[Not cleaning] can lead to build up of the creosote in the chimney and it's a lot easier to have a chimney fire."

Make sure your methods for heating your home are executed carefully to avoid becoming the Penticton Fire Department's next call. 

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