Fire officials: keep an eye on your space heater

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SHERMAN, TX-Cold temperatures pass through Texoma Wednesday night and with the holiday season, fire officials remind you to keep your eye on your heaters and Christmas decorations.

Sherman Fire Chief, Jeff Jones said they respond to 15 percent more fires around the holidays because of the use of space heaters and Christmas decorations that can be fire hazards.

"This time of year there's always an accumulation of Christmas presents, Christmas trees that may dry out and other combustibles so we want to make sure that people are real wise with what they put around their space heaters," he said.

Aaron Cole takes precautions with his gas heater and even makes sure his christmas lights don't get too hot.

"It kinda worries me a little bit, but I got my lights are almost all LEDs and I got them all in a timer," he said.

Chief Jones said with cold weather on the way many people are turning on their heaters for the first time, but it's best to clean them first before hitting the switch.

"First time you use the heaters, you sometimes get that buildup of lint or dust in the heating duct. So sometimes when the heater comes on, people have a burning odor or even sometimes visible smoke," he said.

And Cole said he cleans his heater every few months.

"We clean the filters and clean the burners, the gas burners," he said.

Jones said no matter the type of heater, keep it at a safe distance from other objects.

"All heaters require a significant amount of clearance around those. We recommend at least 36 inches around those heaters or anything that generates heat. Whether that's an open flame heater or an electric, coil type heater," he said.

Jones said residents should also keep an eye on their fireplaces and keep them maintained.

"It doesn't hurt every 3 or 4 years to have someone come out, take the cap off their chimney and look down and see that the fireplace is functioning as it should. That the chimney is clean and the flue is intact."

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