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Space Heater Safety
Updated On: Dec 358, 2008

Space Heater Fire Safety

Space Heater Fires Between 2003-2007
61 space heater fires were reported to the Office of the State Fire Marshal between 2003-2007. While these fires are not frequent, they are deadly. One of every 10 space heater fires causes a fatality. These fires caused 6 civilian deaths, 10 civilian injuries, 14 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $3 million. 30% of these fires were caused when combustible materials such as bedding, magazines, newspapers or furniture were too close to the heater, and another 8% were caused when rugs, carpets or mats were under or too close to the heater.


If you must use a space heater, use it as safely as possible!

On March 20, 2007,at 4:04 a.m., the Lanesborough Fire Department was called to a fire in a manufactured home (trailer). The fire was started by an electric space heater that was placed too close to a couch in the living room. The occupant was using the space heater to heat the entire home. The occupant received minor burns to her arms while she exited the trailer. There were no smoke detectors present in the home. Damages from this fire were estimated to be $40,000.

Safety Tips
When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as, Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL).

  •  Keep the heater away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials. Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump it and knock it over.
  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
  • Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
  • The sale and use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts.
This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

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