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The Houston Fire Department Urges Caution With Space Heaters

As the temperatures dip, some Houstonians are trying to keep warm any way they can. That’s a concern for firefighters who say unsafe heating devices can easily send a home up in flames

  • The Houston Fire Department says if you have a gas heater you also need a carbon monoxide detector.
    The Houston Fire Department says if you have a gas heater you also need a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Houston Fire Department Spokesman Kenyatta Parker says it's always a good idea to  have a fire extinguisher handy.
    Houston Fire Department Spokesman Kenyatta Parker says it's always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • An older model of a gas heater. Many of these are still in use in Houston homes.
    An older model of a gas heater. Many of these are still in use in Houston homes.
  • Houston Fire Department Spokesman Kenyatta Parker discusses winter fire safety.
    Houston Fire Department Spokesman Kenyatta Parker discusses winter fire safety.

Many Houstonians aren't really accustomed to winter weather. So when it starts getting cold they look for anything they can to ward off the chill, especially low income residents. The Houston Fire Department's Kenyatta Parker said they've seen people do some dangerous things.

"What concerns us is using things that weren't designed to keep a house warm, like the stoves or the ovens, candles or fire pits," explained Parker.

Parker said there are also a lot of people who use older gas heaters. He said if you have one of those, you need to make sure it's free of the dust and debris that collects when it's not in use. It's also important to have a working carbon monoxide detector.

"Anything or any appliance that produces combustion has a risk of carbon monoxide," said Parker.

And for any kind of heater, Parker also stresses the importance of a smoke detector. He said any Houstonian who needs one can ask at their local fire station or they can go to the fire department website.

As for other winter safety tips, Parker said it's also important where you place a heater. He said you need to keep clear a three-foot radius.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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