ST. LOUIS — At least a dozen people were put out in the cold while crews battled fires in their homes Thursday — all of which, St. Louis Firefighters said, were caused by space heaters.
The latest one was on Cora in north St. Louis shortly before midnight Wednesday. Firefighters said the Red Cross was assisting a family of five displaced in the blaze.
It might seem like a strange, rare coincidence, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 home fires every year are connected to space heaters, which have hospitalized about 6,000 people with burns, and killing about 300 people.
The St. Louis Fire Department shared a few tips on how to properly use space heaters this winter:
• Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment
• Turn off when leaving the room or going to bed
• Avoid usage of extension cords and power strips; plug directly into the outlet
• Follow manufacturer's instructions
Space heaters are widely used among older and low-income households, especially since they are concentrated and relatively cheap sources of heat--but safety experts warn, they should never be the primary heat source in a home. If you or someone you know needs heating assistance this winter, visit heatupstlouis.org.