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As energy costs reach record highs, many Americans are turning to portable electric space heaters and wood-, pellet- coal or kerosene-burning stoves, and other non-traditional heating sources to defray costs. With the increase in use comes an increase in fire risk. The Newton Fire Department encourages residents to use caution when using alternative heating equipment this winter.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating fires occur during the winter months. On average, NFPA research shows that heating equipment is involved in an estimated 56,000 reported U.S. home structure fires per year, with associated loss of 470 civilian deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries and roughly $1.0 billion in direct property damage per year.
“As a leading cause of home fires, heating safety is a concern for every community every winter. This year, with the projected increase in use of alternative heating equipment, families need to be especially vigilant to use all heating appliances properly,” said Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik.
The Newton Fire Department is encouraging residents using pellet stoves, wood stoves, space heaters or any other home heating equipment this winter to follow this advice: