Chattanooga firefighters warning people about heating homes this winter

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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) –  With temperatures expecting to dip into the 20’s over the next couple of nights, many people will likely do what ever it takes to keep their home warm, but experts are warning folks to be extra careful because more homes actually catch on fire when outdoor temperatures are at their coldest.

During the winter, no one wants to wake up in the middle of night to find their home has caught on fire, especially when flames will likely force a person outside where temperatures are frigid.

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Chattanooga Fire Department Public Information Officer Bruce Garner is warning anyone who uses space heaters to remember the three foot rule.

“Keep anything that will burn at least three feet away from those heaters,” Garner said.

Homes or apartment with internal wall heaters should never have furniture placed directly close in front of those heaters.



“We’ve had some terrible tragedies in recent years in which people didn’t know there was a heater behind the couch and it led to a fatal fire,” Garner said.

Anyone using a fireplace to keep warm should always remember heated wood can pop out at any moment.

“Make sure you use a screen so that if there are any sparks that are popping out, the screen will catch it, instead of landing on your carpet and causing a fire. You might also have your fireplace inspected by a licensed inspector to make sure that there are no cracks in the fireplace or in the chimney because we see fires from that every year,” Garner advised.

Home with fireplaces should also have working carbon monoxide detectors.

Real Christmas trees not only need to be away from space heaters and fireplaces, they also need to stay hydrated. It takes very little to ignite a dry tree.

“Once a Christmas tree gets really dry, It’s like having kindling right there in your living room. It will go up like news paper. It’s very flammable and it’s very dangerous,” Garner warned.

Chattanooga fire officials say they usually see an upswing in house fires this time of year that are caused by overloaded electrical circuits, so experts are asking people not to plug in more than one heater to the same circuit.

Following this advice can save a home and a life.