Space heater may be to blame for Kennewick house fire

KENNEWICK FIRE DEPT. NEWS RELEASE -- Kennewick firefighters battled and quickly extinguished a single-family residential structure fire on January 8, 2013, at 12XX East 6th Avenue. The fire was reported by an adult female occupant to 9-1-1 dispatch at approximately 6:32 A.M. Upon arrival, firefighters found a bedroom in the rear of the home well involved with fire. The fire also broke out of two of the room's windows and was quickly spreading to the exterior and roof eve areas. The adult female was the sole occupant at the time of the fire and made it out of the home unharmed. There were no injuries to the occupant or firefighters.

Investigation of the fire's cause is being performed by fire investigators, and is centered on a suspected space heater found close to a bed. The heater was plugged in and operational in the unoccupied room at the time of the fire. Investigators will examine the room to check out electrical and other potential sources of ignition. Preliminary fire damage estimates are $70,000 for the structure and its contents.

The Fire Department encourages careful monitoring of space heaters and turning them off when left unattended. A minimum of 36 inches of clearance from nearby combustibles should be maintained at all times portable heaters are in use, and they should be plugged directly into an outlet. Extension cords should not be used for space heaters as they commonly overheat resulting in fires.