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Firefighters warn about home heating dangers

Ben Shearer read the temperature of his personal space heater. This newer model gets up to about 220 degrees. He says older models can get much hotter.

Oh the weather outside is frightful.... And a nice warm home is so delightful.

As the temperature drops outside, the last thing homeowners want to do this time of year is crank up the heat. That comes with higher utility bills.

But using alternative heating methods in your home could be putting your family at risk.

“More than half residential structure fires happen in the winter time,” said Ben Shearer with Pasco Fire Department.

All it takes is one wrong move

“People will use their stoves to help heat their house. That's just never a good idea,” Shearer said.

And your house could go up in smoke.

“You've got to make sure you're using the approved device for the approved location,” Shearer said.

Shearer says they respond to homes for carbon monoxide where the oven was open to heat the space, or a barbecue was brought inside.

“Every year with Tri-Cities we have at least on death related to carbon monoxide poisoning,” Shearer said.

He stresses the importance of working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“You want to make sure you're warned in case something happens,” Shearer said.

Shearer says space heaters need to be at least three feet away from anything that could burn.

“We get fires all the time. They get put too close to couches or other burnable surfaces,” Shearer said.

And plug them into the wall, not an extension cord.

If you're using a generator, keep them outside as far from your home as possible.

“With gas heat especially you always want to make sure you have those carbon monoxide detectors in your home,” Shearer said.

And be sure to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once a month.

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