St. Helena house fire caused by space heater

St. Helena house fire caused by spaced heater

ST. HELENA ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - A space heater is being blamed for a fire that destroyed a house on St. Helena Island over the weekend.

One person was home, but thankfully he was able to escape. Now, fire officials are urging you to be extra careful when heating your homes.

When the fire department arrived Friday, it was too late. The home was already engulfed in flames. Now a man is out of a home, but firefighters are using his story to remind folks the dangers of space heaters, and how you can keep something like this from happening to you.

"We're not sure exactly what did happen. He just said I had a space heater and that's where it did start. It had either fallen over or something had fallen into the space heater," said Scott Sampson, Lady's Island St. Helena Fire District.

Firefighters say space heater fires happen all too often. Thankfully, in this case, a tragedy was avoided.

"He did not have any injuries. He assisted us in getting the water shut off and explained to us what had happened," said Sampson.

The homeowner told firefighters the space heater was left unsupervised – now the department has a message for folks who are trying to stay warm as the outside temperatures begin to drop.

"Make sure you use something that's a registered licensed space heater to keep warm. Make sure that you have it with nothing within three feet of the space heater in case it does tip over," said Sampson.

If you're going to sleep, turn the heater off. Officials say using precautions with space heaters can ensure that it's a useful tool and not a fire hazard.

"Just be very cautious where you place it, and if you do leave the room and have to go somewhere, just make sure you turn it off and unplug it from the wall as well," said Sampson.

The homeowner lost everything in the fire and is now being assisted by the Red Cross.

If you're thinking about purchasing a space heater, click here to find out what safety features you should look for. For tips on how to use your space heater, click here.

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