Portable Space Heaters Spark Fires

Portable space heaters are often used to take the chill out of a room. For residential use, the most popular are the electric portable space heaters which can use heated oils, heated metal coils with forced fans, ceramic heating elements, and infrared bulbs. They are all effective in heating up small spaces without having to worry about the cost of heating up the whole house.

But often the use of these heating tools are taken for granted and proper safety recommendations are ignored. Because of this oversight or lack of judgement, portable heating equipment has become the second leading cause of home fires in the US and the 3rd leading cause of home fire deaths in the US. According to the National Protective Fire Association, (NFPA) between the years of 2011-2015, portable and stationary space heaters “account for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of associated deaths”.

In February 2021, the City of Strongsville has had 2 significant structure fires resulting in almost $200,000 in losses. The official cause of these fires are still pending, however in both of these fires, the investigation surrounds the heaters and surrounding combustible products.  
Please be careful and use an abundance of caution and common sense when using portable space heaters. The statistics do not lie and following the safety recommendations below can save you and your family’s life and property.
  • Turn off space heaters when you leave the room, house, or go to bed.
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended.
  • Only use equipment that has the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark which shows that the product has been safety tested.
  • Turn off the space heater if the cord becomes hot.
  • Plug space heaters directly into the socket instead of into an extension cord.
  • Place the heater on the floor and never on a counter top or on furniture.
  • Combustible materials such as blankets, curtains and newspapers can easily catch on fire.   Be sure to keep these types of materials at least three feet away from space heaters.
  • The use of kerosene or propane space heaters is strictly prohibited and illegal for residential use. They pose a high risk of death and injury, and generate carbon monoxide.
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If you have any questions, please contact Strongsville Fire and Emergency Services Department, Office of Fire Prevention at 440-580-3225 or visit us at Strongsville Fire Prevention
How fast can a space heater start a fire?