Space heaters cause multiple house fires in Fresno over the weekend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A terrified pup narrowly escaped a garage fire Sunday morning in a Southwest Fresno neighborhood.

"There was a space heater in the garage for the dog," says Battalion Chief Tim Fulmer.

That's what Fresno Fire detectives believe might be to blame.

The garage damaged by smoke and soot that also got into the attic of the home, leaving the family with a hefty bill.

According to firefighters, they're lucky in comparison to a Northwest Fresno Family.

Detectives say on Saturday, a space heater sparked a fire that tore through their home.

All three residents and their dog made it out safely but were scarred emotionally. Their house was left with significant damage.

"Because there are no open flames with space heaters, a lot of people don't realize how dangerous they can be," says Jonathan Lopez with the Fresno Fire Department.

Last month the fire department had 42 fires and so far this month, they've had 60 structure fire calls.

They hope that number stays low, but with cold temperatures sticking around, more and more people might turn to space heaters.

The fire department stresses proper use.

"Make sure they are set up at least three feet away from any combustible material," Lopez said. "That includes furniture, bedding or drapes."

They recommend you plug them directly into a wall outlet, which means no extension cords or power strips.

One of the biggest mistakes they say people make is leaving their space heaters unattended, which may have played a factor in this weekend's fires.

In addition, the fire department recommends that people make sure the cable on their space heater is not ripped or broken.

Authorities say they haven't had any space heater fatalities in Fresno in recent history.
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