Homeowner injured extinguishing fire caused by space heater

Published on Monday, 6 January 2014 17:42 - Written by FAITH HARPER fharper@tylerpaper.com

An East Texas homeowner was injured while putting out a fire in his home.

Fire crews from North Cherokee and Jacksonville fire departments were called to a home in the 2000 block of County Road 4101 at 3:25 p.m. in Cherokee County, Jacksonville Fire Department Lt. Alicia Whetfell said.

Danny Rozell, chief of North Cherokee, said the fire was sparked by a space heater that was too close to the curtains.

The homeowner removed the space heater and put out most of the fire before fire crews arrived, Lt. Whetfell said.

In the process, he received a small quarter-sized burn and inhaled a significant amount of smoke. He was taken by ambulance to East Texas Medical Center at Jacksonville for evaluation, Lt. Whetfell said.

“If he hadn’t done what he did, we probably would have lost the structure,” she said. “Would I recommend doing that — not necessarily — but in this incident it worked.”

The home suffered heavy smoke damage, confined to the living room where the heater was.

Rozell said space heaters are dangerous, and residents should be cautious around them, especially as temperatures drop. He warned to be cautious not to put the heaters too close to curtains, bedding or other flammable debris.

“Cold snaps bring on these fires from people trying to keep warm, so they need to be careful,” he said.