Opinion

Caution needed for space heaters as W.Va. shivers

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — With temperatures in the single digits and lower expected to last into next week. many Mid-Ohio Valleyans are reaching for their thermostats to turn up the heat.

However, with higher heating costs, many people also are turning to less costly ways to keep warm: with portable units such as space heaters, the most common of which are fueled by kerosene.

Used properly, space heaters are effective for a single room, but they are dangerous and are the source of many house fires.

House fires can and do happen at any time, but they are especially prevalent during the winter. According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of the 54,000 home fires annually reported in the United States occur in December, January and February.

According to data published by the American Red Cross on the agency’s fire fact sheet, much of which is based on data compiled by the NFPA, space heaters (portable electric heaters, portable kerosene heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces with inserts and room gas heaters) account for 66 percent of all home fires.

These fires often have deadly consequences…

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