Fires rise during cold snap, so beware of heater-related problems

Updated: December 28, 2020 06:11 PM
Created: December 28, 2020 04:42 PM

The colder temps has lead to a rise in fires. That's fairly common, according to Assistant Chief Brent Consie, from the Duluth Fire Department. "When you get a cold snap, structure fires go up for awhile," he said.

Space heaters can be problematic. "The main thing we want people to know is that they should only be used when you're in the room. It's not a main heating source. Also, don't plug them into an outlet with other appliances. The wiring can overheat. And make sure there aren't things like clothes or curtains around it," Consie cautioned.

Two of the recent fires in Duluth were related to overheated wiring, Consie said.

The newer space heater models have the anti-tip feature, and will shut off automatically if it isn't sitting upright.

The American Red Cross of Northern Minnesota said they've helped 31 people in the past week, from a total of 7 fires. "We've always got people on-call. We're always prepared," Tony Guerra said. He's the Disaster Program Manager. 

They're now able to transfer funds directly to people who need them for clothing and lodging. Many of their referral calls are done over the phone and remotely now, because of COVID.

Aidan Buehler was glad his apartment didn't suffer damage because of a fire Sunday night. Still, he ran out in the cold without any shoes, when the fire department showed up. "I hope we can be back in soon, but the power is still out."

And another reminder about your home safety during winter. Make sure your exhaust and intake vents are clear of snow. If snow builds up, there could be a build-up of carbon monoxide.

To donate to the Red Cross, click below:

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