Fire Marshal Launches 'Keep Warm, Keep Safe' Campaign - NECN

Fire Marshal Launches 'Keep Warm, Keep Safe' Campaign



    (NECN: Brad Puffer) - Firefighters struggled in the cold and ice to knock down a fire in Concord, Massachusetts. While it's never easy fighting fire in these temperatures, of bigger concern to fire officials, is keeping these fires from starting at all. There have already been six fatalities in Massachusetts this year. Many caused by people trying to stay warm.

    Jennifer Lewis lost her mother and her brother last week to a fire at this Somerville home where her family had lived for 42 years.  Fire officials say it was likely caused by a space heater.

    Jennifer Lewis: "My brother had two dogs and he lived right beside the front porch there was no door there, just a blanket and he used the space heater for the dogs."

    It's just one of the reasons Fire Marshal Stephen Coan has launched new campaign, "Keep Warm, Keep Safe."  Because one in eight fires caused by a space heater results in a fatality.

    Stephen Coan: "People use them at night and they are not intended for overnight use."

    While space heaters are built more safely now, keeping combustible material away is essential.  They can also overload extension cords.   

    Stephen Coan: "We realize that people are looking for other alternative methods to keep warm as long as the devices are used properly and common sense prevails."

    That also goes for people trying to thaw their pipes. This fire in West Lebanon, New Hampshire apparently started when the owner tried to use a blow torch to do just that.  The cold weather brings about many challenges, but there are real dangers that can cost lives.