Tragedy puts heating safety in focus

By REGGIE ROSS

Staff Writer

In the past week, nightly temperatures have averaged in the mid-30s, and fire officials are warning residents to take as much caution as possible with heating homes.

“Something we look for this time of the year is caution with heating,” said Grenada Fire Chief Ronnie Willis. “How are they heating the apartment or the house? Are there properly installed smoke detectors inside?”

The Grenada Fire  Department has been on alert after last week’s house fire on Choctaw Street that claimed the life of 59 year-old Ricky Stoker. State and local fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Willis said it’s the time of the year when every inch of living spaces should be monitored, especially when it comes to heating homes.

“When it starts to get cold like this, space heaters and extension cords are a main concern of ours when temperatures drop,” Willis said.

Willis said residents should make sure space heaters are at least three feet away from anything, and make sure they have automatic shut-off devices.

“The main thing you want to do is have your heating system checked,” Willis said. “They need to be checked annually by a qualified technician. With any type of space heater or additional heating systems, you want to exercise caution.”

Willis said homes using fireplaces should check for creosote buildup so dangerous vapors are not released.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should also be checked to make sure they are ready for cold weather.

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