#childsafety | After deadly Bronx fire, CT fire agencies share tips on heater safety



After a fire apparently caused by a malfunctioning electric space heater broke out in a New York City high-rise apartment, killing 17 people, fire agencies across Connecticut are offering tips on how residents can safely use these heaters during cold weather.

The warnings came just as temperatures plummeted around the state on Tuesday, with icy air from the Arctic and winds forecast to push wind chill values to -10 degrees in some areas.

Several fire departments shared posts and infographics on how to use a space heater safely. The National Weather Service also included an infographic with tips about heater safety in a news bulletin Monday ahead of the cold snap.


Space heaters should only be run on a solid, flat surface, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They should be kept at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including bedding, clothing and curtains.

Before running the heater, make sure the appliance’s electrical cable is in good condition, without damage to the cord or plug. Space heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet, not through an extension cord or power strip, according to FEMA. Overloading extension cords with appliances that use more wattage than the cord can handle can overhead the cord or plug and cause fires.

It’s also important to check whichever heater you use has a working automatic-shutoff, which will turn the appliance off if it tips or falls over, according to FEMA. The heat should be turned off whenever the space heater is left unattended.

The fire in the New York apartment building on Sunday killed 17 people, the Associated Press reported, after smoke from the blaze rose from the apartment’s open door and up through the building. Fire officials said the apartment’s door and another on the 15th floor should have been self-closing, but remained open, allowing the smoke to spread.



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