With one fire in a home already this year and cold weather settling in for the week, St. Johns County Fire Rescue is warning residents to be careful if they are using space heaters to help keep warm.
“It was confirmed that it was space heater-related,” Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Jeremy Robshaw said of Monday afternoon’s fire on North McLaughlin Street.
No one was injured and fire fighters had the fire under control not long after being called to the scene, but the incident underscores the need to be careful when using heaters, particularly those that need to be refueled.
“What we think happened is they were trying to refuel it (while it was still hot),” Robshaw said of the cause of the most recent fire.
That is suspected to have ignited the kerosene fuel for the older model heater, sparking the fire.
Robshaw said people who need extra heat in their homes should be careful using older heaters or they should consider purchasing a newer model that will have more safety features built into it.
“Even still, you need to be careful,” he said.
Newer heaters still need to be kept away from anything combustible.
“A minimum of three feet,” Robshaw said.
And electric heaters should be plugged directly into an outlet instead of owners stringing extension cords across the floor.
“Those are the big things,” Robshaw said. “But obviously be careful around pets and children.”
A Facebook post from Fire Rescue on Tuesday also suggested turning space heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed and recommended having chimneys and heating equipment cleaned or inspected annually and installing carbon monoxide detectors.