Amid Smoke Alarm Campaign, NY Fire Commissioner Issues Space Heater Warning

FDNY, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the City Council, the New York Red Cross, and the FDNY Foundation have launched #GetAlarmedNYC, the nation's largest smoke alarm giveaway and installation program.

Two serious fires this month involving space heaters caused New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro to urge all New Yorkers recently to take extra care using space heaters. One fire victim died and another was transported in critical condition, according to FDNY.

"In two separate serious fires, New Yorkers using space heaters suffered critical injuries, with one man tragically losing his life,” he said. "When used safely, space heaters can be an effective way to help keep you and your loved ones warm during the fall and winter months. I urge all New Yorkers to exercise care when using space heaters and to obtain a working smoke alarm for their home."

Residents who lack a smoke alarm are in luck this month: FDNY, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the City Council, the New York Red Cross, and the FDNY Foundation have launched #GetAlarmedNYC, the nation's largest smoke alarm giveaway and installation program. To find a smoke alarm giveaway and fire safety education location in their neighborhood, New Yorkers can call 311.

FDNY offers these tips for safe use of space heaters:

  • Space heaters should be placed at least 3 feet from any combustible material (such as clothing, bedding, or furniture).
  • Never use an extension cord with a space heater.
  • Turn off or unplug the space heater when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Inspect the electrical cord on your space heater for damage before each use.
  • Keep young children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Only space heaters that are UL approved should be used.
  • Avoid using space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Using kerosene or propane space heaters is illegal.

The fatal fire occurred early on Nov. 10 in Queens in a second-floor apartment that lacked a smoke apartment. Fire marshals determined the fire originated from a space heater in the living room that was too close to combustible materials and furniture. The other fire occurred the same day in the Bronx in a third-floor apartment that had a working smoke alarm. Firefighters rescued an 86-year-old man who was transported in critical condition to a hospital. Fire marshals determined the fire originated from a space heater in the living room that was too close to a chair.

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